Reducing Stress for Nurses During Flu Season
Scheduling adds an additional layer of stress. How many shifts need to be picked up due to demand or due to callouts from sick team members? “If I don’t feel well, how do I call off in this situation?” asked Eadie.
Obviously, patient care is the first concern, but scheduling is also critical. Utilization of WorkJam allowed healthcare providers to not only access and view their schedules, but in case of their own illness they were able to offer the shift to their fellow team members. This created an ‘open-shift marketplace’ for nurses, in Eadie’s words.
“The two sides of not feeling well and needing rest, but not wanting to overtax your coworkers and the inability to afford not to work are all considerations,” said Eadie. “So with the open-shift marketplace, you’re giving the nurse the ability to feel good about finding someone to work in their place.”
What’s more, the existence of this marketplace allows the nurse to lessen the economic impact on their own income by ensuring that there will likely be shifts available for pickup in the near future when they’re feeling better and back on their feet. The end result? Patients receive quality care from healthier nurses, and the sick nurses are given the appropriate time to recuperate and removing the threat of infecting coworkers.
“You feel better getting your shift covered on Thursday,” Eadie offered as an example, “when you know you’ll be able to pick one up Sunday, and not put yourself at a disadvantage financially.”
From a management standpoint, the ease of delivering information reduces the stress of running 3-4 meetings per shift to address scheduling concerns and coverage issues for sick employees.
“Putting all three prongs to this approach together into one deliverable—that’s where we really feel you have that high level of execution.”
Eadie and WorkJam authored a white paper entitled “A Day in the Life of an Engaged Healthcare Employee” that takes the reader through how a typical day at work is eased by this method of communication, while taking occasional glimpses at the potential pitfalls avoided through this method of communication.
“It’s not just work—these (coworkers) lean on one another for support, and that work stress can bleed over into their home lives,” said Eadie. “If they can spend less time managing those concerns, they have an extra half-hour, an hour a day to spend at home with themselves, their families.”
Ultimately, an idea that arose as a solution to managing stress becomes a tool for training and engagement, as that extra time at work can now be used for training or even the development of tools for departmental consumption, ie. a paper or presentation entitled ‘Five Ways to Reduce Stress at Work.’
“We’re trying to engage these nurses,” summarized Eadie, “and impact the workplace experience. If we can give them a happier workplace experience, that alone greatly reduces stress.”