To Leave or Not to Leave?

 In Nurses Weekly

You may wonder if your workplace is unhealthy or toxic or if it’s just you not being able to deal. If you are in a practice environment like those in the following five scenarios, you need to plan your exit strategy. Here are five indicators of unhealthy practice environments.

Poor Work Organization

There’s a chronic lack of supplies. The left hand never seems to know what the right hand is doing.

Substandard Care

Soiled linen is covered with Chux. Patients on bedrest are not turned. Vital signs may or may not be accurate. IV tubings may or may not be changed.Staff feel forced to falsify information because the emphasis is on defensive charting and  not on actual care. Patients are not respected and not treated with dignity

Poor Morale

Nurses want to do the right thing but the right thing is not only not rewarded, it is punished. Staff do not take pride in their work. Aides are unapproachable and insubordinate, and some of the worst ones have been there several years.

Lack of Teamwork

In an unhealthy or toxic practice environment, it’s each man is for himself or herself. It’s sink or swim and no one is going to help you. Coworkers won’t make eye contact with you, for fear you may expect something from them. You also see staff scatter when there’s a new admit or a when a patient needs to be cleaned.

Organization is Always in Survival Mode

The organization never stabilizes and accountability drops each time there’s a gap in leadership, as everyone waits to see what the new boss will deem important. Staff are jaded and skeptical of administration. Absenteeism is always high and you are asked to stay over frequently. Turnover is higher than like facilities in the community, and there is a lack of collective organizational knowledge. Employees have job insecurity because layoffs and firings are capricious.

There are frequent visits from the state Department of Health, surveys, corrective plans of action and re-surveys. Everyone is afraid of getting in trouble but not sure just how to do that.

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