Most of us have probably entered a room and felt the tension resonating off of a few people or a couple of groups of people. Many of us have experienced this kind of situation while at work, which makes conducting business difficult at best. For the select few who work in the healthcare industry, added stress like this can translate incongruent goals and antagonistic behavior. The simple solution is to create a better environment for the healthcare providers, but what does this entail? Simply put, physicians to be full engaged.
Studies have been done throughout the healthcare industry to understand where environments could be made better, and there seems to be a recipe that contains all the ingredients to make physicians happy and ensure services are being provided. As explained in a Becker’s Hospital Review article, the five elements to establishing a more engaged physician involvement and establishing an overall good working environment are:
- Respect for skills and capabilities
- Respect for opinions and ideas
- Good relationship with colleagues
- Good balance between work and life
- Input on time schedule and structure
Although these same ingredients are quite similar to any professional’s list of desired characteristics within any vocation, they are particularly important to provide a well-balanced individual who provides a great, personal service within his or her community.
Physicians work very hard to grow in the skills and abilities they have. It is a great disservice when any physician feels as though this hard work is not respected or listened to, especially when a healthcare organization goes through internal improvements. There is meaningful awareness that physicians have being on the frontlines, and to have this discounted or set aside leads to a more disengaged physician.
Along with the hard work, physicians know the underpinnings of their organization, and have most likely formed opinions and ideas in how the system could be improved. To open up doors of communication that allows these concepts to come forward is necessary to showing and placing value on these experts. By creating a forum in which they might be heard, physicians feel empowered, and enables a sense of community to build. It does go without saying that no one wants to attend meetings just to attend, but there should be purpose, structure and engagement to the betterment of the organization, however that might come.
Just like any one of us, the feeling of belonging and comradery helps to foster commitment. The need to have a good relationship with colleagues not only promotes healthy connections on a professional level, but also encourages a more effective and efficient engagement with patients. This step doesn’t always occur within the walls of a hospital or clinic, a lot of physicians attend conferences that address the many different components that go into being a physician, or create other outside opportunities to gather with peers.
With most everything in life, it is necessary to find a balance between too much and too little. The same goes for physicians, especially in the fact that many physicians do not have a nine-to-five job and must find their own symmetry. As in many aspects in life, there are individuals who are naturally talented when creating balance between work and everything else in life, but there are a great number of physicians who rely upon support and example from their peers in order to form this balance. Due to the sheer amount of hours that are part of the regimen of a physician, harmony to life’s duties needs attention, and should not be overlooked, because none of us is all work or all play.
Personally, when I think about disciplined schedule, I remember my senior years in high school and college where I wasn’t always focused on the task at hand because I was burned out on being told where to go, when to be there and for how long. Again, this isn’t much different than physicians experience over time. Too much structure, especially without input from those held to that construct makes it challenging to keep up the enthusiasm day in and day out. Administrators tend to see blocks of time on a page as quantity and profits, while physicians see themselves stuck on an assembly line without quality. When administrators and physicians can come together to form a more cooperative time structure, all voices can fine-tune the machine to make sure quantity is met, yet quality is never lost.
Physician engagement within a healthcare organization is a relationship that requires care, understanding, and constant nourishment. The rewards are then felt inside and out of the organization, thus creating an all-around better environment for physicians to work and patients to be treated.