Finding Joy in Work as a Nurse

Finding Joy in Work as a Nurse

By Liliane de Vries

Burnout is a complex, all-too-common, and seemingly inescapable reality facing nurses in Canada today. Healthcare is a rapidly-evolving career path that is as stressful as it is rewarding — and given the growing demands for time, energy and engagement — nurse turnover is on an alarmingly upward trend. The causes of burnout run even deeper and are affected by severely substandard systems of daily work.

While most misdiagnoses nurse burnout as an individual problem, its consequences can be seen at the organizational level, affecting staff engagement and satisfaction as well as patient experience, quality of care and patient safety. And because nurses stand at the frontline of patient care, these factors substantially impact overall organizational performance. 

Assessing Joy in Nurses

Although joy is most easily felt on an individual basis, in all actuality, it stems from organization-wide commitment to view joy as a system property. For healthcare organizations starting to delve into improving joy in the workplace, self-assessment tools provide the ability to analyze, understand and measure progress.

Through self-assessment, organizations can develop a comprehensive picture of the presence or absence of joy, areas of improvement and methods to examine if newly implemented changes are creating meaningful, positive effects.

The Cure for a Joyless Environment

Understanding the importance of joy, healthcare organizations, such as the IHI, are quickly taking steps to innovate and prioritize the promotion of joy as an inseparable feature for professionals, and subsequently, positive patient experiences. Joy in work is a result of systems, so improvement methods and tools prove crucial toward its pursuit. 

But what works to improve joy for nurses?

The IHI follows a 4 steps approach to help healthcare professionals take a step forward. 

The first step involves identifying what matters to you in your work, with the help of a leader – or facilitator. This step is about asking the right questions. This helps you realize what contributes to and, moreover, what detracts from your joy in work. 

The second step is about identifying these impediments more clearly, naming all the “pebbles in the shoes” that prevent you from reaching joy in work. These can be circumstances, processes, issues, responsibilities.

On step three, multidisciplinary teams – you and other healthcare professionals – from clinicians to administrative staff- are asked to take responsibility for these impediments and discuss them together, always with the help and support of a leader. 

In the final step, leaders and staff are encouraged to use Improvement Science together to accelerate improvement and create the right conditions to reach joy in work. 

nurse joy in work

Nursing Leadership Circles©

ALIVE in Healthcare’s Nursing Leadership Circles© offers the opportunity to create a high-performing healthcare team by providing a tried and tested format and a safe environment to transform an organization’s culture to better support its front line. Being a former nurse I’m able to guide and facilitate the process with my first-hand experience and appreciation for the unique hardships endured by nurses.

Based on the ALIVE in Healthcare’s three core components – Leading Self, Engaging Others and Systems Thinking — Nursing Leader Circles© empower healthcare professionals, leading to engaged and thriving nurses, reduced stress, enhanced leadership skills, an awareness of other world views through shared experiences and much more.

Leading from Humanity in Healthcare – 14 November 2019

Leading from Humanity in Healthcare is an upcoming conference that explores Relationship-Centred Care©, humanity, empathy and compassion in healthcare. The conference features seven industry healthcare leaders and patients who are ready to captivate attendees with their distinct insights and experiences.

For more information or tickets to Leading from Humanity in Healthcare click here.