In response to recent concerns regarding staff shortage and job satisfaction the following is designed to serve as both a report of the current situation facing our staff and a proposal for how to move forward from here. First and foremost, management wishes to convey how thankful they are for your service as a core staff member and reaffirm your value to this hospital as a whole. We have also heard your concerns regarding staffing, and wish to address these concerns. Over the past few months, and going on a year, our hospital has faced two unique challenges. First and foremost an overall staff shortage throughout the hospital, and particularly in our ancillary department. Second, and related to this first issue, it is apparent that the recent high rate of turnover is due at least in part to poor job satisfaction within the department. The administration recognizes that these two issues are interconnected, and we wish to take immediate steps to both improve job satisfaction and retain staff to avoid a shortage in the near future. The following proposal addresses two aspects of the concerns identified above. First, it discusses the impact that these issues have had on the ancillary department, in the interest of full transparency. Second, we wish to also discuss what specific steps we can take as a team to address these issues immediately and avoid them in the future.
The impact of staff shortage in the ancillary department has certainly taken its toll, both on the department itself and on the hospital as a whole. Physicians, nurses and patients alike are all dependent on the ancillary department for the provision of high quality care. In turn, the ancillary department is dependent on adequate staffing in order to run efficiently. Unfortunately, as you are all aware, we have had a shortage of staff in the past year due to both lower hiring rates and a higher rate of turnover. It is clear that this has had an impact on the ancillary staff that does remain, increasing stress in the workplace, stretching staff thin, and decreasing overall job satisfaction. As an indirect result, it has become clear that job satisfaction has decreased in recent months, particularly within the ancillary department. This is an unfortunate side effect of staff shortages, and we wish to do everything in our power to make the workplace a stress-free and rewarding environment. It is clear that these two issues have impacted both the efficiency and the environment of the ancillary department, as they have fed off of eachother to create an unfortunate cycle.
The administration recognizes these impacts, and proposes to better the communication, collaboration, and teamwork within our department. Improving these areas within our staff and administration will, in turn, improve the conditions in the ancillary department by decreasing turnover and ideally raising our hiring rates. As one academic source states, the development of a successful team is dependent on “effective communication, comprehensive decision making…and the ability to resolve conflict” (Ezziane et al., 2012, 428). While this in mind, the administration wishes to open dialogue with all staff members to hear both concerns and suggestion for resolution. Improving collaboration and communication in our team can improve both job satisfaction in the short term and turnover in the long run. On the converse, another scholar tells us that “Shared responsibility without high-quality teamwork can be fraught with peril” (Mitchell et al., 2012, 2). It is our goal to avoid this peril and instead meet our team with success.
With that in mind, this proposal provides two specific examples of techniques that are proven to foster inclusion and improve communication in healthcare teams. The first and simplest approach is to establish clear roles within the department. As Mitchell et al. (2012) go on to state, when “there are clear expectations for each team member’s functions, responsibilities, and accountabilities” this optimizes “the team’s efficiency and often makes it possible for the team to take advantage of division of labor” (9). With staff shortage, the department has unfortunately been stretched thin and roles have been blurred. In the next few weeks, the administration will be holding individual meetings with each staff member to more clearly define roles so that the team is on the same page moving forward. Second, and more specifically, the administration seeks to provide interprofessional education to the team, as it has been shown to improve collaboration in healthcare teams (Robben et al., 2012). The exact design and provider of this interprofessional education program is yet to be determined, but will be offered in the next several months.
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