The COVID-19 pandemic has caused anxiety around the unknown for many nursing teams across the country. To ease this anxiety, nursing leaders need to serve as a voice of reason and stability, guiding their teams into the “new normal.”
Tipton Health Communications held a Nursing Leadership Webinar on June 2 to offer nursing leaders some help. Phil Ellingsworth Jr., strategic communications manager at Tipton, and Erin DiGirolamo, senior manager of internal communications and digital workforce strategy at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), outlined three straightforward ways to make sure your communications are strong, relevant and effective.
Communication is a two-way street.
Consistently sending out messages is a step in the right direction. But to communicate effectively, you need to listen to the feedback you receive and address it in your next directive.
- Continually encourage your nurses to share their questions, concerns and suggestions. Emphasize how it is important for them to speak up and provide open, honest input during COVID-19 and beyond.
- Make it easy for nurses to give feedback. Offer multiple channels to submit comments. These channels can be anything from town halls to rounding.
- Acknowledge the feedback you receive. Let your staff know you’re listening to them and considering their ideas. Follow up with action and information to ensure your nurses know their leaders hear them, empower them and care about them.
One size does not fit all.
Change up how you’re talking with your nurses through different channels. Your staff might miss one singular email about a new masking policy. But if you accompany that email with a post on your organization’s intranet, and leaders cover the topic while rounding, there’s a much better chance your nurses will get the message.
It’s also important to remember that we all learn in different ways, so use all your communication channels to put out multiple versions of the same message. This way, each nurse can receive the information in the way that makes the most sense to them. Here are examples of channels you can use:
- Nurse information center
- Messages from the CNO/CNE
- Virtual and in-person rounding
- Town halls
- Intranet posting
- Digital signage
An open book is easier to read.
In times like these, your best bet is to be transparent, timely and brief. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to every question that comes up. Just be honest about what you do know, what you don’t know, what factors leadership is considering when making their decisions and what staff can do to help in that process.
It can be uncomfortable at times not knowing the answers. But by being honest and open, you’re showing staff you care about them and their needs— and you’ll address those needs in your decision-making process. This will build trust, maintain morale and engagement, and lower the stress and anxiety of your nurses.
Learn more from our expert speakers.
Visit TiptonHealth.com/webinars to learn more about all the strategies presented in our webinar, Employee Communications Essentials in the “New Normal” Hospital. Following the session, Tipton offered attendees a free tip sheet on how to create a meaningful manager message map. If you would like a free download of this resource, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to join us for our upcoming June sessions:
- How Nurse Autonomy Helped Hospitals Manage the Crisis (and Will Help Build the New Normal) (Tuesday, June 9, 2020 12:30–1:00 p.m. EDT)
- Driving Nursing Excellence and Maintaining Magnet Momentum in the Pandemic and the “New Normal” (Tuesday, June 16, 2020 12:30–1:00 p.m. EDT)
- Nursing Leadership’s Role in Emergency Response Planning: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Crisis. (Tuesday, June 23, 2020 12:30–1:00 p.m. EDT)