Why we can’t afford to wait for the healthcare staffing crisis to end
Coauthored by Jeff Doucette, Chief Nursing Officer
It’s no secret that staffing challenges are weighing heavily on the shoulders of healthcare organizations. However, waiting for this “storm” to pass before addressing quality and safety issues is not the road to take.
Zero harm—to patients and the workforce—must be our core value in healthcare, and we can’t lose sight of this despite the current challenges. As healthcare organizations face a nationwide caregiver crisis due to the pandemic, engagement and retention have never been more critical. A renewed focus on quality and safety can help fortify these engagement and retention efforts.
5 key drivers of employee retention
If you examine the graph below, you’ll see that there are five key drivers—or “healthcare must-haves"—that are the top determinants in an employee’s decision to remain at an organization after being offered another job.
The employee is less likely to leave an organization if that employee:
- Likes the work they do
- Finds their work meaningful
- Feels that their work makes a real difference
- Sees every patient client as an individual with specific needs
- Feels the organization provides high-quality care and service
These drivers—numbers 3–5 in particular—relate to quality and safety.
The engagement-safety connection
The connection between employee engagement and a culture of safety cannot be overstated, especially given the current staffing crisis. Better performance in both arenas accelerates advances in quality, patient experience, and efficiency outcomes—a concept known as the "virtuous cycle." Employees that feel safe at work exhibit higher levels of engagement, and engaged employees are more aware of threats not just to patients, but to coworkers too. So, safety leads to engagement, and engagement leads to safety. The two become an engine that drives improved efficiency outcomes throughout healthcare.
Press Ganey’s data and insights can help your organization during this challenging time by demonstrating correlation through comparative performance aspects, and by examining specific safety culture item performance against where respondents rank in engagement. We'll then show you how to develop and implement a strategy to both enhance the employee experience and boost patient safety. For example, leader behaviors such as High Reliability Rounding™ and tiered huddles all drive safety performance as well as employee engagement. In fact, high reliability principles and practices are a chassis by which organizations can improve across multiple domains, including engagement, safety, quality, and patient experience.
Staffing challenges will be with us for the long term. So we cannot wait to optimize safety and quality. Today’s staffing challenges mean we need to look at new and innovative ways to deliver care, including new care models, care redesign, and process improvement.
Leaders must visibly commit to quality, safety, reliability, and service. This will lead to enhanced engagement and retention, as well as improved outcomes for patients.
To learn more about how Press Ganey is improving the safety climate across the healthcare industry, check out our Safety 2025 pledge.
For help conducting a safety culture assessment at your healthcare organization, or to learn more about the Press Ganey safety culture survey, get in touch with a Press Ganey expert.