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A healthy work environment is an important factor that can enhance employee motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction. Research also points out that the work environment influences turnover and retention, which are among the key issues in nursing practice (Ritter, 2011). According to Blake (2015), nurse leaders have a prominent role in creating and maintaining healthy work environments because the management might be oblivious to specific issues affecting the workforce. There are several critical components of a healthy work environment, and I believe that most of them are present in my practice setting.
Communication and Recognition
The first element of a healthy work environment is open communication between nurses and management. As noted by Shirey (2017), “the quality of relationships between managers and workers has been linked to employee- and unit-level outcomes,” and thus managers should strive to be engaged in communication (p. 48). In my practice, managers talk to nurses regularly and encourage them to share concerns and suggestions to improve work processes. Secondly, recognition schemes play a critical role in supporting a healthy work environment (Blake, 2015). Studies show that recognition enhances job satisfaction, thus contributing to employee outcomes (Feather, Ebright, & Bakas, 2015). In my workplace, leaders reward excellent performance by selecting the nurse of the month, which helps nurses to stay motivated.
Organizational culture also plays an essential role in supporting a healthy work environment (Shirey, 2017). In particular, a culture that emphasizes support and collaboration contributes to the work climate and enhances satisfaction (Blake, 2015; Shirey, 2017). Nurse leaders in my workplace support the culture of belonging, where each employee contributes to work processes and has the constant support of colleagues and managers. A culture of safety can also have a positive influence on work environments. Blake (2015) explains that a focus on safety helps managers to maintain adequate staffing levels, thus keeping the workload manageable for all nurses. In my workplace, managers focus on safety and monitor staffing regularly to prevent these issues. This means that the working conditions are humane and nurses can maintain a work-life balance required to avoid burnout and facilitate retention. All in all, I believe that my practice settings reflect the key components of a healthy work environment and that nurse leaders have played an essential part in achieving and maintaining this result.
Blake, N. (2015). The nurse leader’s role in supporting healthy work environments. AACN Advanced Critical Care, 26(3), 201-203.
Feather, R. A., Ebright, P., & Bakas, T. (2015). Nurse manager behaviors that RNs perceive to affect their job satisfaction. Nursing Forum, 50(2), 125-136.
Ritter, D. (2011). The relationship between healthy work environments and retention of nurses in a hospital setting. Journal of Nursing Management, 19(1), 27-32.
Shirey, M. R. (2017). Leadership practices for healthy work environments. Nursing Management, 48(5), 42-50.