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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Leading change to create a healthy and satisfying work environment

Carolyn L Sanders, Mary Krugman, Danielle H Schloffman
Nursing Administration Quarterly 2013, 37 (4): 346-55
24022289
Nurse executives must take a leadership role in creating a healthy work environment for nurses and all disciplines. Engaging in partnerships and empowering clinical nurses to construct the solutions to barriers that may stand in the way of the goal of a satisfied and healthy workforce are important strategies toward success. This publication outlines many projects a 3-time Magnet-designated academic hospital has implemented, working with our shared leadership councils, to meet the standards for a healthy work environment. These initiatives, from the unit to the hospital level, included standardizing a culture change of uninterrupted meal breaks, the creation of intensive care unit Zen rooms, strategies to better manage increased patient volumes, best practices for facility design, enhancing physician-nurse relations, and a hospital wellness program. Data were benchmarked against national nurse and employee surveys to compare progress and report outcomes. Two important nursing organization structures that have contributed to the success of a healthy and satisfied nursing work environment include UEXCEL, a longstanding clinical nurse professional practice program, and the hospital's 11-year participation in the University HealthSystem Consortium/American Association of Colleges of Nursing National Post-Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program. A highly engaged, well-educated, and committed nursing workforce, nurtured by a strong leadership team, has created a positive work environment characterized by low turnover and high retention.

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