The Urgent Care setting is a fast-paced, high-pressure environment. With convenience as a top priority, clinics aim to treat patients as quickly as possible, while adhering to safety protocols. This dedication to speed and accuracy can potentially create unwanted stress for employees. It is easy for staff to feel like they are constantly on the go, with little time to stop and breathe. To help you combat these feelings of stress in the workplace, we have spoken to various healthcare employees and compiled a list of tips for fostering a healthy urgent care work culture.
Take Breaks and Breathers
Urgent Care is a high-speed and often high-stress environment. So, it is important to remind employees to take a moment to breathe, socialize, and relax. Encourage staff to occasionally walk away from their work, have a cup of coffee, and decompress. An overworked employee jeopardizes both the efficiency of your clinic and the safety of your patients. You would be surprised the effect that a short break can have on an employee’s mood, work ethic, and efficiency. Giving employees a little TLC is the best way to boost workflow.
Additionally, be sure to staff and schedule enough employees to allow for breaks and time off. In an urgent care clinic, understaffing might just leave you with a backed-up waiting room and stressed out employees.
Provide Clear Training
Make sure to have a strong training and orientation program. Clearly lay out what the employee’s tasks and expectations will be. Moreover, rather than simply telling them, show them. For many employees, hands-on experience is the best way to learn. This is especially relevant when teaching the computer software and EMR system. You will find that employees will better remember all the complexities of the software if they are given hands-on training.
Show the Bigger Picture
Another useful training tactic is to highlight each step of the urgent care process, and exactly how each department depends on one another—from the front desk to the providers. Show your employees the big picture rather than merely their facet of the clinic. Lay out how your clinic operates from start to finish. This will help employees understand the importance of their co-workers and better cooperate with other departments.
Be Explicit, Avoid Ambiguity
In a medical setting, precision and accuracy are critical. To make sure that your employees are executing tasks to protocol, give explicitly clear directions. Make it clear which employees are in-charge of which tasks. If necessary, provide visual reminders: signs, binders, or bulletin boards that delegate jobs and catalog protocols. Ambiguity in urgent care is counter-efficient and counter-productive.
Many times, co-worker conflicts arise when one department is frustrated by the methods or practices of another. Maybe one employee enters information on the EMR differently than another. Maybe two nurses have different systems for rooming patients. However, it is common for employees to not realize that their methods are frustrating another. To avoid this conflict, try surveying different departments regularly; Find out what they need from other employees in order to carry out their own job. Also, it is helpful to encourage a culture of open communication and constructive criticism within the workplace, so employees feel comfortable voicing their qualms with one another.
Welcome Feedback and Criticism
Ask for employee feedback—perhaps anonymously. Every place of work, from Google to the local DMV, has room for improvement. Ask your employees frequently how you can improve their work experience. Would they like additional training in a certain area? Do they have an idea of how to increase efficiency? Are they feeling overworked or over-scheduled? Get in touch with your employees’ complaints and concerns and accommodate them. Consider using an anonymous feedback tool, like SurveyMonkey, to ensure honest criticism.
Offer Positive Feedback
While constructive criticism is integral in the workplace, it is also important to acknowledge when employees have done their jobs exceptionally well. Many personality types are fueled by a little positive affirmation. Thus, letting your employees and co-workers know that they-done-good could help your Urgent Care run even more efficiently and accurately. Notify your employees if you have had a record number of patients in a day, or a consistently short wait-time. Recognition and appreciation from a higher-up let employees know that their work is valued.
Gauge Personality Type
To gauge and accommodate the personality dynamic within the office, consider having new employees complete a personality test, like a DiSC profile. A personality quiz allows an employee to understand his or her strengths and needs better in the workplace. It also advises them in how to cooperate with other employees effectively. As an employer, a personality quiz will allow you to understand how each of your employees operates in the workplace. When it comes to interacting with employees, a one-size-fits-all approach will not cut it. Be aware of their diverse personality types and consequential needs.
Let your employees know from day one that you want to offer them the best work experience possible. Assure them that they can come to you with any questions or concerns. By listening to your employees’ feedback, you can craft a unique and healthy work culture in your urgent care.