Did you miss the latest #NurChat Twitter debate about morale? Let us sum it up for you…
Recently it seems that not a day goes by without another bad news story which impacts upon nursing. Coupled with inconsistency in staffing levels and uncertainty in the NHS, is it any wonder that in some areas nursing morale is low?
Britain’s Nurses, who are working hard to boost morale in nursing, joined in with this #NurChat - which set out to explore morale in nursing and the effect that it is having, but most importantly, how we could increase morale.
Had I felt discouraged or depressed about nursing prior to this chat, the enthusiasm and passion of the participants would most certainly have lifted me. As it was, I came away from the chat smiling and hopeful, as I am sure did others…
This chat started out by asking if participants felt that morale was a problem in nursing at the moment?
@michellemellor3 tweeted “Morale only a problem if you let it be! Depends on frame of mind”
@nursemaiden said “It depends on where you work?”
@studentnurdse added “Job uncertainty and reorganisation causing a sense of unease in local trust, staff disheartened and worried about jobs = low morale”
@Hhaylo tweeted “The inability to be able to provide the best care, in my experience, is the main cause of poor morale”
@Ramck001 stated “I think there’s been a lot of flack in the press re the NHS and the NMC / Nurses - it’s bound to bring people down”
@britainsnurses asked “We hear ‘bad press’ as a cause a lot. And who could argue? Would good stories improve morale?”
@Ramck001 answered “Absolutely! I can barely watch the news anymore, it’s a complete kill joy - some good news would be a good change” and “Good things happen all the time, the media is just not interested in reporting it”
Leadership was identified as being key to morale in nursing.
@nursemaiden stated “It’s something about feeling valued, supported and listened to. Leadership + culture of organisation”
@DGFoord said “We all need different things to give us a boost, but recognition, a thank you & positive approach from leaders helps”
@nursemaiden then added “I think this is crucial a thank you speaks a thousand words and I say it at the end of my shift”
@dwylieinstitute tweeted “It is important to acknowledge work of front line staff. In my leadership role I show appreciation every chance I get”
@mikkywatt “YES!! Good leaders have a big impact on keeping morale up”
WeNurChat then asked NurChatters if poor morale has an impact on care?
Ramck001 tweeted “Oh absolutely. If you’re miserable, the patient can tell, and then they’re miserable, which limits their outcomes.”
@nursemaiden said “Absolutely research shows happy, valued, supported+ developed staff = better patient outcomes”
@karenconnor93 stated “Good comms=happier informed peeps= better care”
Surprisingly, the conversation then turned to the positive effect that food has on nurses:
@britainsnurses tweeted “We heard of one hospital where tea and biscuits were compulsory at handovers. Small things, but a nice touch”
@Ramck001 added “I think a sweet to nibble on at the Nurse’s station can make a big difference to morale - even when eating on the run!”
@nursemaiden said “When I was sister in A+E used to buy staff trays of donuts for our shifts”
Looking back on this aspect of the conversation it is easy to see that it is not the food that is key here but the thought behind it. As nurses we often find ourselves rushed off our feet and a cup of tea or a biscuit from a colleague shows that they appreciate us; this goes a long way to boosting morale. Something sweet can say thank you and often provide the little boost that is needed.
As the chat drew to an end @WeNurChat asked “What would you say to a fed up nurse? How can each of us boost morale?”
@MrsGracePoole stated “Take responsibility for creating your own self worth. Self management/efficacy is vital in nursing”
@DGFoord said “Be grateful for our teams, make work fun, inspire our leaders & inspire as leaders”
@dwylieinstitute “Get involved, speak up, ask to participate in decisions that impact you”
@Ramck001 added “I think ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ is the best thing for morale that I’ve ever said to a Nurse.”
But the one tweet that inspired a lot of the Nurchatters taking part was @nursemaiden who tweeted “Nursing is a privilege - a window into people lives at their most vulnerable time. Cherish them and nursing”.
And this is true; nursing is a privilege and we need to remember this during these tough times - and remind our fellow nurses as well. We need to have pride in our profession and stand tall. We should cherish our profession and draw strength from that to lift our spirits; and most of all - remember the importance of that cup of tea!
Teresa Chinn is a nurse, a blogger and social media specialist and leads the #NurChat discussions for WeNurChat. Follow @WeNurChat on Twitter.
You can read the full transcript of the chat on www.nurchat.co.uk