1. Doucette, Jeff RN, CEN, CHE, CNAA, MS

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Create a superior work culture

In the midst of the changing healthcare market, nurse leaders struggle with creating and maintaining superior work cultures. Today's leader is both a daily operations master and a long-term visionary who's working harder than ever before. How, then, can this "jack of all trades" add creating a superior work culture to the ever-growing list of responsibilities? The challenge is to change the way we think about our roles. Leaders on the cutting edge understand their major focus is to become the chief retention officer. Successful leaders figured out long ago that if they focus on employee satisfaction and growth, most operational challenges will fall into place. A satisfied and motivated work-force does what's right to deliver the utmost in quality, patient-focused care on a consistent basis.


Creating a superior work culture isn't as difficult as it may seem. First, understand that creating this culture is your work, not an addition to the list of things to do. When you're constantly focused on what's important to the team, the team members, in turn, will focus on what's important to the unit's success. It all starts with the right people, so develop a list of traits and behaviors team members should possess, such as a compelling vision and the ability to manage change, take risks, and manage diversity. The qualities on your list will be different based on your unique needs.


Second, look within to determine if you're a consistent role model of these behaviors. If not, you have some growth to do before working on developing the culture.


Third, perform an internal assessment of your team. This step is about getting the right people on the right bus, in the right seats, and generally headed in the same direction. You may have to make tough decisions about who should stay and who should go. Not everyone will fit in the new culture, and that's okay.


Finally, once you have the right people, the job is easy. Together you create a shared vision and ensure that everyone understands your purpose, the reason your team exists. With the right people, a shared vision, and a uniform purpose, you have the rock-solid foundation for a superior work culture.