Beat Down Burnout

Here Are 2 Points for CEOs Having Staffing Issues

As CEO of a hospital or healthcare organization, the responsibility for keeping the team together and working well lies with you, right? “The buck stops here,” so to speak. You carry the title. It’s your responsibility to ensure that all the systems carry out the processes as planned. Does that include ultimately making certain all the teams are always properly staffed?


This is harder now than 20 years ago. Neither the physicians nor the nursing staff give you the respect you were previously given based on your credentials. Things have changed. They don’t listen like they once did. You tell them the plan and lay out the system for them, and they don’t seem to care. They don’t follow the rules. Well, not the rules on paper, but the unwritten rules of protocol, of courtesy, and of respect. You can’t get a handle on how to motivate them. They no longer simply do as told. Furthermore, you may have inherited a sticky situation from a previous administrator where trust has been broken and connecting with your staff is now nearly impossible. Am I right? Would you be interested in some tips that make these processes easier and more effective? I’ve got you covered.


Unfortunately, nurse staffing has become an issue across the US, and is only getting worse. It is estimated that roughly 30% of nurses leave the bedside every year, and that number is expected to grow to over 50% next year. How do you manage this situation? The answer in the past has been to throw money at it by hiring traveling nurses at a very high cost to the organization, which has bred resentment in the nurses who are loyal to your hospital and now the risk: benefit ratio of travel nurses is questionable.


Would you agree it’s time to consider a different solution? I’m sure you’ve done a root cause analysis. I believe I know why your staff are leaving, and it isn’t necessarily money. It isn’t always your plans or protocol. You see, they don’t feel seen or heard. They’ve been talking and no one has been listening. Not really. They also want to be recognized for their expertise. That means being recognized in a way that is important to them. I know that you are trying to recognize them. However, you may not understand the types of recognition that are truly important to them. It shows in the results you are receiving.


Here me out, please. Let me have your attention while I discuss these two points:

* Being seen and heard, and

* Getting recognized for your expertise


BEING SEEN AND HEARD: Most of us want to be seen and heard. Some people want the spotlight more than others, but all of us want to feel as if we have a voice in the major decisions that control our lives. Right now, your staff don’t feel they have a voice. They are taught the company’s values, but who is learning their values? Learn to listen to what the values behind their words. This goes beyond listening to answer or listening to understand. We call this listening to value, and there are steps to this:

         *  Know the code, or core values of the person speaking.

         * Grab their code (and yours) here.

         * Listen for those values every time they speak.

         * Think of this as a process for understanding their value system.

         * Understand that this is more important to them than responsibility, rules, or credentials (unless they are a Blueprint).

         * Sit with this knowledge until you have a deep discernment for what drives your staff. This will give insight into how best to show acknowledgement.

         * Make it a tradition to spend time doing this quarterly.


GETTING ACKNOWLEDGED FOR THEIR EXPERTISE: If you’ve done the above steps, then you’re already on your way to understanding this one. Your staff want to be recognized, not just for the sacrifices they are making today, but also for the sacrifices they made to get where they are.

      * Different codes want to be acknowledged differently

      * Different staff members (think physicians vs nurses) tend to have different codes and should be acknowledged differently

      * Acknowledgement does not have to be expensive. It needs to touch on core values.

      * Acknowledging people along these lines opens communication and increases loyalty.


When you implement these steps into your organizations plans with integrity and respect, you will achieve both immediate and long-term improvements in staffing. Modeling such behavior has additionally led to improvements in team collaboration and trust. Try it out. It’s less risky than continuing your current path. I think you’ll find this is a win-win-win situation. A win for administration, a win for nurses, and a win for your organization.


I’m Nan Nuessle, MD and I’m here to help.

Nanette Nuessle