All workers dream of a workplace where they can thrive, grow, and achieve. Nursing assistants are no different. But sadly, this is not always the case in the healthcare industry. We know that a healthy work environment can significantly improve productivity and that it can enrich staff experience. It can also increase overall satisfaction with one's career. But with toxic work culture, the opposite happens.
Working as a nursing assistant who has endless tasks of caring for patients is hard enough. And with a stifling environment, it becomes doubly difficult to cope.
What are the signs that tell you that your workplace culture needs improvement?
1. Bullying is rampant.
It’s either that you've fallen victim to it or witnessed someone belittling a co-worker. Bullies harass their colleagues verbally or physically. Aggression like this always kills morale.
When you encounter a bully, you tend to become overly anxious. You feel like you're always under scrutiny. Unknowingly, you shift your focus away from your patients to your personal dilemma. You also become prone to making mistakes. You drag yourself to work, each time with that dreadful feeling that they’ll do it again.
2. Co-workers gossip and spread rumors.
Going to work while knowing that your private life is the talk of the town is nerve-wracking. Gossiping is a sign of disrespect and can ruin interpersonal relationships. Without a healthy relationship among the staff, teamwork fails, and patient goals suffer.
3. No Voice.
CNAs are bedside staff, and in a toxic work environment, they feel that communication with the higher-ups is one-way. The management gives the orders, and the CNAs only follow. Feedback from the staff is not welcome.
When employees have no way to reach out to their managers, they tend to keep grudges and hold resentments. In the long run, it leads to emotional drain and lack of motivation to work. When most of the staff feel this way, they perform poorly.
4. High turnover.
Due to the physically and emotionally demanding nature of a nursing assistant’s work, many quit their jobs for good. High turnover usually happens because of not just one problem but of many factors. If you notice that employees come and go, it's a red flag that many things in that workplace are messed up.
5. Constant negativity.
A lack of positivity in the workplace is a major issue that can have a devastating effect on employee morale and efficiency. It decreases motivation. It's hard to achieve patient goals when you’re convinced that every effort will fail anyway.
6. Biased and unfair treatment.
Policies are often laid out for staff to follow regardless of rank and status, but unfortunately, there are times when some individuals get away with breaking the rules. Unfair treatment in the workplace makes staff resentful as well as lose their trust in the system. It dampens the nursing spirit.
7. Overly demanding workload.
Another sign of a toxic environment is a lack of staff. What happens when one person does the job of two or three? There is no room for quality work and CNA-patient relationship, only tasks. To thrive, nursing assistants need to feel the human connection with others in the workplace, patients included.
Also, if the staff complains of no life-work balance, it means that they are stressed and burnt out. When burnout sets in, workers can suffer physical and emotional harm. They fail to contribute to achieving patient goals.
If you think your workplace is less than ideal, do not lose hope. Don't give up! All is not lost. With the right mindset and attitude, you can still win over a toxic environment.
Seek the cooperation of your co-workers. Be the change for others and create your own voice through your dedication. And even if this impact is far from being achieved, you need not abandon your passion for serving others as a CNA. If all else fails, you can go and find another workplace where you can be valued and recognized for the gem that you are.
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