Regina Temple Talks About Helping Healthcare Employees

According to Regina Temple, the average hospital has a little under 990 employees, and each of these employees plays a huge role in keeping the hospital’s ecosystem functioning. The size of the healthcare workforce and the industry’s struggles with labor shortages highlight how crucial it is for hospital management to prioritize employee job satisfaction. That said, as COVID-19 exacerbated preexisting stressors and burnout risk among clinicians, this priority proves more challenging than ever.

In today’s healthcare landscape, hospitals face the difficult task of keeping their staff satisfied while handling the increased demands of high patient volumes. This shift has meant some hospitals are struggling to keep their employees content, which leads to high turnover rates and may compromise patient care. Although this presents a significant challenge, there are still factors that hospitals can control to provide a more positive work environment.

First, offer competitive wages.

While wage increases have been a common tactic to retain healthcare talent for quite some time, they are becoming even more prevalent as healthcare institutions compete for limited candidates. Regina Temple says that higher compensation is the most common strategy hospitals use to maintain a strong nursing workforce. It even beat out tactics such as expanded recruitment, bonuses, and professional development.

Many hospitals have expanded their wage offerings, even across roles as diverse as hourly workers to full-time clinicians, to be more competitive in the current market.
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Next, provide expanded benefits.

According to Regina Temple, when competition for healthcare workers was not so fierce, a traditional benefits package may have been health and dental insurance and a retirement savings program. In this talent competition, however, workers want more. They want expanded benefits — paid leave and legal services, employee assistance plans (EAPs), and financial wellness protection. Hospitals that build an attractive benefits program, in addition to higher compensation, will likely be more appealing than those that only offer the bare minimum.

Third, come up with comprehensive staff scheduling.

Reports that detail clinicians working 60-hour weeks or more have become more common during the pandemic. Today, it continues to strain the healthcare system. While labor shortages and high patient volumes have worsened this issue, facilities can keep these bandwidth and work-life balance concerns at bay with effective, comprehensive staff scheduling and planning.

Regina Temple notes that contracting with a travel nurse may be expensive, but it is one possible strategy to relieve overworked staff. Also, organizations may hire remote clinicians who can take care of the virtual aspects of the clinic, like telemedicine, for follow-up visits.

Lastly, have support for the mental health issues of the employees.

Mental health concerns among healthcare employees were already high before COVID, but the pandemic has intensified the burnout and stress that existed early. Complicating these difficulties is an ever-present stigma around healthcare workers when they open up about mental health concerns. Unfortunately, clinicians suffer in silence for fear of revoking their medical license.

In response to these harsh realities, hospitals can invest in strategic programs to address mental health struggles. Furthermore, these initiatives should extend beyond temporary relief methods, such as free lunches or celebrations. Instead, Regina Temple says that organizations should look to comprehensive offerings, like mindfulness classes and stress management workshops.

Regina Temple has served in the healthcare community for over 30 years. She has served as an Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2006 and 2010, deployed Quint Studer’s evidence-based leadership model across multiple hospital settings, and completed Lean Facilitator training in 2012. Read similar articles on this page.

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