Nursing teams are composed of innovative individuals who must be able to work together to meet their team goals. To achieve this, nursing leaders must prioritize their team’s wellness.
However, it takes adequate knowledge and skills to care for a team. This is why reputable universities, such as Baylor University, offer nursing leadership degree programs for nurses who want to venture into leadership. One of these programs is the DNP-ENL online program, which prepares you for the intricate role of leadership in nursing.
This article will discuss six ways that nursing leaders can impact the wellness of nursing teams in their organizations.
Six ways that effective leadership improves team wellness in healthcare settings
Leading a team can be fun if your team members are in good condition. Here are six approaches you can take to lead your team.
Promote work-life balance
The nursing profession can be demanding, which is why nurses must have a healthy work-life balance. Nursing leaders who prioritize work-life balance can help mitigate stress and prevent burnout in their team members.
One way to achieve this is through fair scheduling. Nurses often have to work long and irregular hours, including night shifts. This can cause exhaustion and burnout if not adequately managed. As a nursing leader, you must understand the importance of rest and recovery. Ensure that you distribute work shifts fairly, such that no member gets excessive working hours.
You should also consider your team members’ personal commitments when scheduling their shifts. If, for example, a team member needs to keep their Thursdays free so they can take their mother to their doctor’s appointments, you should aim to schedule their shifts around that. Being sensitive to your team’s needs will contribute to their wellbeing and foster a supportive work culture.
Encourage open communication
Good communication with your team members gives them a clear understanding of their roles, responsibilities and expectations. This will prevent misunderstandings. For instance, you may need to communicate shift responsibilities and treatment plans to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding their roles.
Communication is a two-way street. Effective nursing leaders aren’t just good at expressing themselves; they’re also good listeners. Show genuine interest in your team members’ thoughts, concerns and suggestions. This way, you can make them feel valued and appreciated. It can also lead to practical improvements in the workplace, as team members find it easier to communicate their ideas.
You can achieve this by having regular meetings with your team members. These gatherings allow everyone to discuss updates, share knowledge, express concerns and brainstorm solutions. They can also lead to collective problem-solving and decision-making. This promotes a sense of unity and collaboration within the team.
Training and development opportunities
Training and development programs help nurses expand their skills, knowledge and competence. It’s a way to improve your team members’ skills for effective patient care. It’s also a way to boost the team’s self-confidence. For instance, you could arrange advanced training in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics or oncology. This specialized training equips nurses with the necessary skills to excel in their field.
Development opportunities, like leadership training programs, could also be used to train future nursing leaders. These programs can help nursing leaders identify and groom individuals with potential leadership roles. They can, then, offer leadership training opportunities to these individuals to gain the skills and understanding to navigate administrative healthcare.
However, training shouldn’t be a one-time occurrence. Encourage your members to always participate in workshops, seminars and conferences relevant to their field. This training can provide learning and networking opportunities where they can listen to their seniors share experiences.
Positive work environment
A positive environment is crucial for the productivity and retention of nursing teams. Nursing leaders can encourage a positive work environment in many ways. One of them is through respect and collaboration.
Every individual’s contributions are valued and acknowledged in a respectful work environment. Nursing leaders must recognize and acknowledge each member’s unique skills and contributions. For instance, you may highlight a nurse’s particular achievement and celebrate the individual during team meetings. This way, they can feel appreciated and respected.
Collaboration is equally important in a positive work environment. Encourage team-building exercises, ask for their opinion in decision-making processes, or formulate protocols together. This creates a sense of belonging and importance among team members, eventually improving patient care.
Recognition and appreciation
Nursing leaders can boost their team’s morale by recognizing and appreciating them. Acknowledging the contributions of your members can create a positive work environment, especially in a high-stress environment such as nursing.
One way to show appreciation is through verbal recognition. Thank them for their fast thinking during a crisis. Commend them for a job well done after a stressful shift. Acknowledge them for going the extra mile to comfort a patient. This appreciation can make them feel valued at their place of work.
You can also recognize their efforts through awards or tokens of appreciation. This could include ‘Employee of the Month’ awards, recognition at staff meetings, or small gifts. While these tokens are often symbolic, they also serve as a powerful reminder that the nurse’s work is valued and appreciated.
Although conflict is usually a negative situation, when managed appropriately conflicts can provide opportunities for growth and innovation among team members. Hence, nursing leaders must effectively mediate and resolve conflicts in a way that encourages understanding and respect. How? First, encourage them to express their concerns and suggestions freely. A work environment where staff feel comfortable expressing their viewpoints can avoid many conflicts.
Nursing leaders should also promote active listening skills. They should give full attention to the speaker and acknowledge their feelings and avoid premature judgments. This way, they can facilitate more empathetic and productive conversations.
When conflicts happen, nursing leaders should address them promptly and avoid ignoring them. They must also know that the leader’s role is to mediate the conversation in a way that helps the conflicting parties reach mutual understanding or compromise.
As a leader, how you communicate, appreciate your team members and manage work-life balance can significantly influence your team’s morale, job satisfaction and the quality of patient care they provide. Creating a supportive work environment where everyone is recognized for their effort fosters a sense of value and motivates nurses to do their best.