According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health care workers continue to face significant challenges. The CDC’s “Vital Signs” revealed that more than double the number of health care workers reported harassment at work last year compared to 2018. From threats to bullying to verbal abuse, the rise in harassment has exacerbated other issues health care workers are facing.
Before the pandemic began health care workers were already facing “crisis levels” of burnout. The arrival of COVID-19, and its crippling of health care systems around the globe, only introduced new challenges to those working within the industry.
The CDC Chief Medical Officer emphasized that employers must act now to address working conditions that lead to staff burnout and low levels of well-being. To support employer efforts, NIOSH launched the Impact Wellbeing Campaign to provide resources. Resources include:
- NIOSH Worker Well-Being Questionnaire (WellBQ): Understand how your workforce is doing and identify ways to improve healthcare worker wellbeing.
- Leadership Storytelling Guide: Help hospital leaders talk publicly about getting help for their own mental health concerns and encourage staff to do the same, using this guide from the Health Action Alliance.
- Total Worker Health® Strategies: Train front-line supervisors to help their staff balance their work and home responsibilities using supportive supervision.
As part of the report, the CDC has issued a call to action — including that,
- Health care workers (all workers!) should be allowed to participate in decision-making
- Management build trust
- Supervisors be provided assistance and enough time to complete work
- Steps be taken to prevent harassment including and paying attention to harassment reports.
NIOSH Office of Total Worker Health found that when working conditions are positive, and where health workers are supported and have the potential to thrive, poor mental health outcomes were less likely.
The sacrifices healthcare workers make and the essential care they provide must be acknowledged and supported! Based on Dimensions’ research and that of other well-being experts, the call to action and findings for healthcare workers are what ALL workplaces must consider for employee well-being. Below are a few suggestions:
- Assess the level of psychological safety within your company including employee perceptions of safety in general – physical, social, and psychological safety.
- Identify if employees are encouraged and comfortable to report issues and concerns, including those related to harassment and bullying.
- Determine how harassment and bullying concerns are handled by HR. Our research indicates that many employees are fearful bringing up harassment, discrimination, and toxic work conditions believing that there will be repercussions.
- Foster a culture of psychological safety and develop leadership qualities throughout the organization based on core values and principles – Regardless of positive responses to the above suggestions!
- Implement Total Worker Health guidelines as the underpinnings for your leadership development initiatives, and safety and wellness programs. TWH provides an excellent framework for the many aspects to be considered.
- Ensure a safe and healthy workplace by addressing all dimensions of safety and wellness and using your safety and wellness programs as the foundation – the levers – for creating a great place to work!
We are available to discussion options and help you plan accordingly. Please contact us at your convenience.