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Ten Ways Hospital Admin Can Make a Nurse’s Job Less Stressful

Posted 2 years 311 days ago ago by Sara Gabriel     0 Comments

Emergency room nurses.  You gotta appreciate the heck out of ‘em, right?  How many professionals work crazy hours in high stress, high risk environments where even the smallest lapse in judgment can have serious consequences and do so day in and day out (or night in and night out) because they have a calling to help others?   Emergency physicians and EMTs aside, we’re guessing not many.

 Nurses Deserve a National Holiday   

Yes, as far as we’re concerned, there should be a nursing national holiday.  RNs everywhere would be treated to a full body massage and facial (yep, guys enjoy a good pampering too), a five-star dinner out with at least their parents in tow (because without them, there’d be one less nurse in the world) and one hundred percent forgiveness of their school loans—all courtesy of our generous tax dollars.

But since that’s obviously not going to happen (darn it), we thought it might be helpful to focus on the many ways in which hospital administrators could make an RN’s job easier (you know, aside from hiring an appropriate amount of staff and not making overtime mandatory).  Some of our suggestions may be a bit simplistic, but simple can have a huge impact.  We’ve also got some great ideas on the technical side. (We are after all in the business of mobile solutions.  We can’t help but go there.)

Ten Ways Hospital Admin Can Make a Nurse’s Job Less Stressful

1.        Supply pens attached to lanyards.  This is a super simple idea and may seem a bit silly at first, but just indulge us for a moment.  According to our resident Development Manager for Healthcare (who used to work in the healthcare industry), nurses tend to be very protective of their pen supply.  Apparently, writing utensils get taken or misplaced on a very consistent basis and this makes for some pretty grouchy RNs.  When you consider how much charting these folks do… well, if you were constantly searching for a pen, you’d be crabby too. (We’ll come back to the topic of excessive documentation and the half-paper, half-electronic system conundrum as it’s the number one complaint nurses have when discussing job dissatisfaction--per an iVantage® Health Analytics' survey .)

2.       Create, promote and enforce zero-tolerance policies that squash the toxic culture permeating the nursing profession.  Read just about any article, blog or discussion forum on the downside of nursing and you’ll come across an expression that speaks to the hostile environment many new nurses suffer when entering the occupation.  (There’s even a book about it. Check out “Ending Nurse-To-Nurse Hostility: Why Nurses Eat Their Young.”) That’s pretty counterintuitive, don’t you think?  One would expect nurses to be nothing short of caring, nurturing and supportive.  (Maybe there’s something going on here that we non-nursing laypeople don’t understand.) Regardless, consistently enforcing strong policy with even stronger consequences for misconduct should improve workplace relations dramatically.

3.       Provide adequate opportunities for career advancement.  This is a no-brainer if you want to retain loyal, talented and motivated staff.  Most professionals don’t value stagnation.  

4.       Don’t waste nurses’ valuable skills on menial tasks like cleaning.  Hire more help.  Nurses should be able to focus solely on their patients.  (That’s not to say that cleaning isn’t important, even critical—obviously it is.  It just doesn’t require a degree to do properly.)

5.       Give nurses a say in the decisions that affect their workday.  Participative Management has many advantages no matter what profession you’re discussing.  According to the MSG Management Study Guide’s article titled “Benefits of Participative Management” the advantages include:

·         Innovation and increased efficiency

·         Improved communication, employee satisfaction and motivation

·         Improvement in process or product quality

·         Less need for supervision

·         Reduced number of grievances and quick and effective resolution of disputes

·         Flexible hiring as a result of cross training

6.       Create a cross-trained, dedicated float pool so nurses aren’t being asked to fill in on positions they have little to no experience with. 

7.       Create policies to limit distractions when nurses are fulfilling duties that should have their full, undivided attention (e.g. administering medication).

8.       Hire good managers.  This one’s a no-brainer, too, right?  You’d think so, but if you spend any time perusing comments to articles or forums discussing the downside of nursing, you’d read that hospitals sometimes hire managers that lack the ability to lead (like happens in every industry really). Working for a manager lacking in leadership skills is sort of like trying to navigate an obstacle course with your eyes closed.  You may get to the end (goal) eventually, but the journey will be a lot more challenging.  At times unbearably so.  (Ever hear the old adage “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers”?) 

9.       Streamline and limit paperwork.  According to iVantage® Health Analytics’ article “5 Ways to Make Nurses Want to Stay At Your Hospital” (which, by the way, we used to create a portion of this checklist), their survey of over 50 nurses showed that the #1 “obstacle and inefficiency” driving them batty at their job was that of excessive documentation (charts, documentation and online documentation). 

“Nurses frequently call out documentation as being excessive; online documentation is the primary inefficiency in the nursing workload as outlined by the nurses we queried. Hybrid (half paper/half electronic systems) are noted as a particular source of frustration. Computer systems that don’t interact with one another create issues; glitchy systems crash and need IT intervention; all this takes time away from direct patient care.” ¹

This brings us to #10 on our list….

10.   Supply nurses with thoughtfully-designed, rugged technology built with the healthcare industry in mind.  Imagine a documentation process so smooth, efficient and painless that nurses could actually double or triple the time they spend tending to their patients (Whoa!).


We think it’s definitely doable, but only if and when the charting process is completely moved online.  They day healthcare professionals no longer do repetitive, time-sucking activities like transferring notes from paper to computer, and the day that hospitals create policies to cut out unnecessary documentation, will be the day that bedside interaction will improve significantly.  Facilities across the country have been moving in this direction.  Through the utilization of mobile computing solutions and secure software services, hospital administrators have breathed new life into their nurses’ workday.  And, as any good nurse will tell you, easy breathing is paramount to good health. 

Now…Let’s Get Back to that National Holiday Idea

Who’s with us?  Let’s get that petition going!


1.  5 Ways To Make Nurses Want To Stay At Your Hospital. Michelle Gray-Bernhardt for iVantage Health Analytics, Jan 5, 2012. https://www.ivantagehealth.com/5-ways-to-make-nurses-want-to-stay/

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