There’s no doubt about it: The past year has been challenging for nearly everyone, but those within the healthcare space have been especially impacted. To stay in a healthy mental and emotional space, it’s vitally important to find joy and purpose in the work we do, even when it’s hard.

While that can be difficult for every person at times, the job responsibilities of nurse managers and the often frantic pace of their work make it even more difficult. But there are some steps that health systems, hospitals, and individual nurse managers can take to seek—and promote—joy and meaning in the workplace.

Lee Galuska, PhD, RN, NE-BC, and Judi Hahn, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, discussed this topic in Tipton Health’s March 2 webinar.

What We Know About Joy & Meaning

In order to feel satisfied and content with the work we’re doing on a daily basis, both joy and meaning are important. Finding “meaning” in our work means feeling as if the work being done is significant, while “joy” comes as a result of feeling that work is meaningful.

For nurses, the fulfillment part is easy—“I am a nurse” is a powerful statement of purpose. Joy and meaning are cultivated within the nursing environment with strong leadership and opportunities to learn and grow.

But the question of meaning and joy are a little more complex at the nurse management level, where there’s potentially less daily, meaningful interaction with patients and patient families. This factor, combined with stress and burnout, makes the work challenging.

How can we promote greater satisfaction and meaning among nurse managers? The results of a qualitative study of nurse managers found five distinct ways to make the nurse manager role more meaningful:

  • Provide mentorship opportunities. It’s important for nurse managers to be able to provide mentorship to others and to be mentored themselves.
  • Instill patient focus. Because there’s less patient interaction, it’s easy to lose sight of the help being provided to patients, but focusing on the patient experience and impact can help.
  • Encourage professional development. Nurse managers can create and cultivate a meaningful environment for the professionals who report to them, which in turn provides a meaningful experience for the nurse managers.
  • Promote optimism. Everything becomes more joyful with a positive and optimistic outlook; it’s easier to spot the meaning.
  • Empower nurse managers. Knowing you have the support of leadership within your health organization can help provide you the impetus you need to identify and solve problems.

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Register today for Tipton Health’s next webinar, How to Win C-suite Approval for Your Budget & the Pandemic’s Impact on Nursing Budgets, which will be held on March 16, 2021, from 12:30–1:15 p.m. EST.