People who work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics and other types of medical facilities – including physicians, nurses and medical technicians – are among the busiest and most overworked in any industry.
According to a study by AMA Insure, most doctors work between 40 and 60 hours a week, and nearly a quarter put in 60 to 80 or more hours a week. In addition, nearly 25 percent of physicians report being on duty both days and nights.
The situation isn’t any easier for nurses. Roughly a third of nurses work more than 40 hours a week, according to a frequently cited study by the National Institutes of Health. Even nurses that put in the standard 40 hours a week face challenging schedules that require them to work 12 hours in a single day or six days in a row.
As you might imagine, all these long hours are leading to dissatisfaction and discontent in the medical profession.
According to Statista data, more than 55 percent of physicians feel somewhat or very negative about their professional morale, citing overwork as a key contributor. And in a study conducted by CareerBliss and reported by Forbes, nurses say they have the second “least happy” job in America, largely due to stress and workplace conditions.
So what’s the solution? Obviously, boosting employee morale in your healthcare practice should be a major priority. Here are some ideas to explore:
- Celebrate employees on their special days. Why not plan an event in the break room for your coworkers on their birthdays and work anniversaries? Something as simple as cupcakes or a potluck lunch can go a long way toward making people feel valued. If you can’t host events in your workplace, look into buying flowers, balloons or a gift card. Another idea: Write notes to honor special occasions. In today’s digital world, a handwritten message can feel personal and thoughtful. TrackSmart Attendance makes it easy to commemorate special events. Just run the Birthday List and Anniversary List reports on a regular basis to take advantage of those important dates.
- Recognize good performance. Do you have employees who stand out for their excellent patient care or team spirit? Then recognize them for it! Write thoughtful emails or give desktop awards that highlight their outstanding efforts and thank them for going above and beyond. TrackSmart Attendance makes it easy to provide this kind of recognition. Run the Event Detail Report using the codes Performance Review and Recognition. You can even indicate why employees have been recognized, which helps you customize your communications.
- Honor perfect attendance. Many employees in the healthcare industry make big scheduling sacrifices to care for their patients each and every day. Recognize their discipline by giving them a perfect attendance certificate or award. The TrackSmart Attendance Perfect Attendance report creates a list of employees with perfect attendance during a specified time period. You can even customize the report to include and exclude different types of absences, such as company-recognized holidays.
- Monitor absences and other employee time off. Watching when – and why – employees take time off (assuming it’s not a sensitive medical situation) can make a difference. Someone taking regular time off for family emergencies might appreciate you asking what’s going on. Once you understand their situation, you can offer support – including schedule adjustments – to help ease the burden.Also, check in with employees planning a vacation and wish them the best before their trip. Or make arrangements to have a gift basket or other surprise waiting for them when they arrive at their vacation destination. These simple gestures demonstrate that you value much-needed time off, as well as support a healthy work-life balance.
- Check weekly time and scheduling reports. Be on the lookout for employees working too many days in a row or very long hours in a single day. Ask them how they’re holding up under the pressure. Be prepared to modify their schedules if they’re experiencing stress or exhaustion. Giving them a break may improve their morale, as well as prevent stress- or fatigue-related accidents.
Rely on a more robust time and attendance software system
A workplace scheduling system such as TrackSmart Scheduling can relieve much of the time crunch and stress medical employees face.
- It allows employees to make their own shift swap requests and settle their own scheduling conflicts quickly and easily if they have a personal emergency or need to make a last-minute change.
- Employees have 24/7 access to their schedules, so they can always find out the days and shifts they’re scheduled.
- Employees can set recurring time-off requests for times they’re unable to work. This can prevent annoying scheduling conflicts – and is a good way to demonstrate you respect your employees’ time-off requests.
Long hours and stress are a very real part of the medical profession. With the convenient tools and features with TrackSmart, however, you can make more practical, thoughtful and morale-boosting changes in your practice.