5 Ways to Improve Endoscopy Unit Morale
by ColoWrap, on August 09, 2023
With the recent Hollywood Strike potentially causing a staggering $3 billion in economic fallout, the impact of employee discontentment across industries, particularly healthcare, cannot be ignored. Whether it's creative writers advocating for more equitable working conditions or healthcare professionals striving to provide top-notch care, the physical and emotional well-being of healthcare workers significantly shapes their productivity and the overall quality of care they provide.
Burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. While it may not be a formal medical diagnosis, burnout still presents a threat of epidemic proportions to the healthcare industry.
Recent studies indicate that physician turnover attributable to burnout and low morale has resulted in as much as $4.6 billion in costs nationally. Beyond the dire financial implications, burnout and low morale present a very real danger to the quality of care patients receive. Overworked and disheartened healthcare workers struggle to provide optimal care and may inadvertently cause harm to both patients and themselves during procedures.
Staff morale is an important consideration in any organization but is particularly significant in healthcare settings where workers interact directly with patients. And, with gastrointestinal (GI) conditions on the rise coupled with a growing aging population, it’s no wonder why colonoscopy staff morale is a primary concern.
In an effort to meet increasing demands, gastroenterology units often operate additional hours, leading to higher levels of burnout and low staff morale among GI staff. Each GI unit grapples with its own distinct challenges and obstacles which can dampen the spirits of even the most dedicated GI professionals.
Low morale cannot be solved overnight, but actionable steps can be taken to ensure GI staff feel valued and appreciated. Here are five powerful strategies that can help breathe new life into your GI unit:
1. Prep for Success
Even the most experienced colonoscopists may struggle in poorly equipped environments. One report showed that a single faulty endoscope generated nearly 9 hours of additional staff tasks and a 60% decrease in overall GI-unit morale.
Endoscopy nursing is an Olympic event that requires high precision and peak performance, which sometimes results in compromised staff well-being. Gastroenterologists and nursing managers play a vital role in addressing this challenge. Instead of waiting for productivity and staff morale to fall under suboptimal conditions, consider taking a proactive approach. Establishing a clean, well-organized endoscopy unit equipped with the latest technology is an important step in ensuring your staff can bring their A-Game.
2. Communication is Key
Effective communication is an essential component of workplace morale, with over a third of surveyed human resource managers citing it as the greatest threat. This is especially relevant in the healthcare industry as shown through an alarming 2015 report that found communication failures directly linked to over 1,700 deaths and over 23,000 malpractice litigation cases in five years.
When GI units experience communication breakdowns, patient safety is put at risk through information lapses, unclear staff responsibilities, misinterpretations, and overlooked changes in patient status. Communication barriers can occur anywhere in a healthcare environment, but most often take place between physicians and nurses.
Hierarchical workplace cultures can exacerbate this communication issue when nurses and support staff feel intimidated by endoscopists and are subsequently less likely to voice important concerns.This disruptive, hierarchical physician behavior has been cited as a primary factor affecting job satisfaction and morale among nurses.
The stakes are as clear as they are high: Communication breakdowns result in unhappy staff who ultimately leave their positions in alarmingly high numbers. Gastroenterologists and nursing managers should encourage open and transparent communication among GI unit staffers whenever possible. Creating opportunities for regular meetings, feedback sessions, clear goal-setting, role definition and clarification, and leading by example are important steps in making sure every member of the GI staff feels heard.
3. Value The Person, Not Their Position
Gastroenterologists and nursing managers who are serious about boosting staff morale must value individuals beyond their positions within the GI unit. When healthcare workers are unable to meet their personal and social obligations, morale rapidly falls. Encouraging a healthy work-life balance by accommodating outside-of-work schedules leads to happier and more fulfilled staff. This human-focused approach enhances staffers' attitudes towards work, resulting in improved patient experience and outcomes.
Emphasizing the unique skills and abilities each member brings to the GI team further improves staff morale. Gastroenterologists and nursing managers should recognize and celebrate their team’s contributions. Delegating tasks is a great way for colonoscopists to demonstrate trust and confidence in their staff and can considerably improve self-esteem and morale throughout the unit.
Additionally, getting to know staff personally is a great way to show care for the whole person. Organizing social events, such as picnics or holiday parties, for staff and their families gives staff time to get to know one another better and connect deeper, which enhances overall communication, teamwork, and morale.
4. Prioritize Positivity
Improving GI staff morale and creating a positive work environment requires more than simply wishing for happy team members; it takes deliberate steps from leadership to instill optimism, support, and encouragement into the culture of the unit. Developing a positive environment is an important strategy to overcoming the mental distress and discomfort nurses may encounter in their jobs. Positivity fosters resilience to combat burnout. Encouraging open communication and a support-seeking environment is key.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated from time to time, which is why establishing employee recognition programs is a great way to demonstrate unit positivity. Celebrating staff members’ individual achievements and hard work shows that GI leadership notices and values their contributions.
Additionally, offering professional development opportunities allows staff to grow in their careers, gaining confidence and knowledge which improves overall performance and patient outcomes. Conferences, virtual seminars, and self-directed courses are all enriching opportunities for personal and professional growth.
5. Protect Staff
Creating a positive work environment is essential to improving morale, but prioritizing staff physical well-being is equally important. With endo staff injuries contributing to presenteeism, absenteeism, staff turnover, poor patient outcomes, and compliance issues, it's clear just how important it is to aspire to a zero harm endoscopy environment.
Colonoscopy is a physically demanding specialty that presents unique risks; 89% of endoscopists report musculoskeletal injuries (MSD) compared to 37% of physicians in other specialties. Similarly, studies show that over 50% of endoscopy nurses suffer from MSD injuries related to their work.
The primary risk stems from looping, a common complication in colonoscopy where the endoscopy scope catches due to the colon's constant motion. Addressing looping often requires manual abdominal pressure or patient repositioning. The frequent nature of looping (which happens in up to 90% of all colonoscopies) means that endoscopy nurses and technicians spend a significant portion of their jobs exposed to high-risk activities that can result in substantial physical harm.
Morale thrives when GI staff know they are valued and cared for by their employers. For GI leadership, one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate their care is by prioritizing ergonomic safety. Providing innovative solutions like ColoWrap®, the first clinical solution to mitigate the need for manual abdominal press.