Obtaining Necessary Approval and Securing Support
The change implementation should start with targeting the key stakeholders and obtaining the necessary support and approval. First and foremost, it is essential to communicate the need for change to the senior management. The proposed plan implies involving several parties: HR members, team managers, corporate psychologists. Their participation is impossible without sustainable control and regulation on the part of the senior management. Their approval can be obtained by explaining the positive prospects of the change implementation such as improved performance and reduced turnover.
Second, team managers should receive the relevant consultations and preparatory training as they are supposed to play the most important role in the change implementation. Their support is, therefore, critical as they are required to apply the maximum of creativity and professionalism to work out effective motivation strategies. Their support might be obtained through introducing additional incentives.
Finally, it is necessary to explain the rationale for implementing changes to the nurses. They must not resist the proposed implementations and realize the need for improvements. Their unpreparedness and psychological resistance are likely to hurt the change outcomes minimizing their effectiveness. It might be assumed that this stakeholder group will express its support as soon as it feels the first positive outcomes.
Current Problem Requiring a Change
The problem that requires a change is the burnout syndrome that professional nurses tend to be exposed to in the modern context. Mohammadpoorasl, Maleki, and Sahebihagh (2012) define burnout as “a syndrome containing three dimensions of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduction of personal accomplishment” (p. 524). Thus, as it might be concluded from this definition, work-related burnout is essentially associated with the quality of nurses’ performance.
Research shows that this syndrome implies numerous negative outcomes including an increase in the error frequency and dissatisfaction with work, as well as reduced motivation and productivity (Suñer-Soler et al., 2014). Low-motivated nurses are more likely to lose interest in their occupation and to quit the job. As a result, work-related burnout hurts the entire healthcare sector.
Recent studies show that even though the problem is now elucidated more actively, the effort made to eliminate it is still insufficient. Hence, for instance, Zanatta and De Lucca (2015) examined the workforce of Sao Paulo hospital to evaluate the scope of the problem associated with burnout. Their study revealed that almost half of all the nurses in the hospital were exposed to moderate work-related burnout, whereas the rest experienced either severe or low burnout. In other words, all the nurses were, to a smaller or larger extent, exposed to stress and burnout. Consequently, it is proposed that the problem should be addressed properly to prevent potential complications.
The proposed solution resides in improving the working environment. Otherwise stated, it targets to reduce the general stress and tension associated with the work of a nurse. This stress-reducing strategy might comprise several change dimensions the detailed description of which is provided below.
The first part of reducing work-related stress and improving the environment is associated with providing the relevant training for the personnel. Thus, nurses should receive a chance to complete special classes where they will learn to cope with stress. The proposed education course is short-term; its main objective is to illustrate the key stress-reducing techniques that nurses can further apply to their every-day-practice. The lectures should last thirty minutes at most so that they can be easily integrated into the common schedule.
Second, it is proposed to involve managers in problem-solving. Thus, they should be encouraged to make their contribution to the creation of a positive environment and easing the tension. Their change activities might imply the organization of common meetings and discussions, the provision of essential support and consultations, and strengthening the incentives system. The latter might be reorganized so that new performance-related bounces and rewards are introduced to motivate nurses. The type of new rewards might vary from praise to financial incentives. Likewise, managers mustn’t neglect such powerful motivation drivers as positive feedback – it includes patients’ appreciation of the nursing efforts as well.
The rationale for Selecting Proposed Solution
The proposal to implement the strategy described above is determined by several insights. First and foremost, it is considered impossible to eliminate all the stress factors that lead to nurses’ burnout. Meanwhile, they can be partially neutralized by effective managerial practices. As a result, the key role in the change process is assigned to managers.
The educational element of the proposed strategy is associated with the fact that nurses need to get acquainted with some universal techniques of coping with stress that can be applied notwithstanding the environment. A recent study has revealed that the severity of work-related burnout in nurses depends largely on such factors as age, marital status, and gender to name but a few (Cañadas-De la Fuente et al., 2015). In other words, it is associated with psychological dispositions that cannot be fully regulated. As a result, it is proposed to provide nurses with some safe methods of stress reduction that are equally available to all of them.
The reward element is included in the proposed strategy as one of the most crucial outcomes associated with work-related burnout is the loss of motivation in nurses. Since natural demotivators such as overloads and patients’ anxiety cannot be eliminated at once, it is recommended to implement additional motivators that will help to redress the balance. Additionally, the proposed strategy and both elements that it comprises are highly economic and do not require additional expenses associated with the costly equipment.
Supporting Evidence from Literature
There is a wide scope of the relevant literature evidence that might illustrate the rationality of the proposed approach. First and foremost, it is essential to note that the decision to address such factors as education and motivation is well-grounded. Thus, recent research revealed that the main component of an effective change associated with burnout is stress management that, in its turn, comprises teaching special techniques and increasing motivation (Nowrouzi et al., 2015).
Likewise, Laschinger and Fida (2014) note that two main drivers should be activated to ensure a successful burnout change: authentic leadership and psychological capital. The authors point out the fact that leaders play a key role in shaping the nurses’ environment. Therefore, managers are supposed to track the level of the subordinates’ motivation and apply all the tools available to restore it whenever it is affected negatively by various external factors. Laschinger and Fida (2014) believe that the reward technique is particularly effective as it encourages a nurse to strive to show a better performance in the future.
Additionally, they emphasize the importance of the so-called psychological capital. Their research revealed the crucial role of psychological resistance to stress that helps to prevent acute burnouts. As a result, Laschinger and Fida (2014) propose to contribute to strengthening the psychological capital by organizing the relevant training and seminars regularly. On the whole, the working environment is prioritized in almost all the studies related to the discussion of burnout in nurses.
Description of Implementation Logistics
The implementation process should be carried out gradually so that it does not disrupt the common workflow. The first step to implementing the change implies performing a careful evaluation of the scope of the problem. Modern researchers offer numerous assessment techniques such as the quantitative study of the main performance variables and exploratory surveys and observations (Zanatta & De Lucca, 2015). The careful assessment is essential to target the most problematic group and set reasonable objectives
As soon as the scope of the problem is defined, it is necessary to involve the managers. In the framework of the change implementation, each manager should be assigned to a particular team the progress of which he or she will report regularly. The managers will be encouraged to develop detailed motivation strategies that will consider the peculiarities of their subordinates. The proposed strategies should be further discussed in the common meeting before they are finally implemented.
While the change is being implemented at the team level, the senior management is supposed to be responsible for organizing the training process. First, it is necessary to contact the corporate psychologist and assign the task of working out a brief and effective educational program for reducing stress. Further on, the management should likewise contact the HR department so that the latter prepares the necessary schedule changes and sees to the fact that the implementation of the training does not imply additional overload.
The process of change implementation should be carefully tracked at all levels. Nurses should be encouraged to leave their feedback through regular surveys and questionnaires. Managers are supposed to report the observed changes during the project meetings. The senior management is expected to carry out a detailed analysis of the implementation’s efficacy through examining the key performance criteria and the feedback received from nurses and managers.
Resources Required For Implementation
One of the key benefits of the proposed implementation is that it requires minimal expenses. Meanwhile, some resources are still necessary to ensure successful implementation. First, the managers will need to perform a careful assessment of the problem scope that is why questionnaires and print surveys will be required. Second, the management will have to involve corporate psychologists to organize the relevant training. The educational process will require a separate classroom and the minimal tools that the psychologist considers essential for successful training. Moreover, the change implementation will imply the transformation of the normal schedule; therefore, new spreadsheets should be prepared. The implementation of new incentives will likewise require additional funds.
It is recommended that each stakeholder is asked to perform a preliminary evaluation of the resources required to complete their part of the change. Thus, the senior management will be enabled to plan the budget more objectively and foresee potential challenges.
Cañadas-De la Fuente, G. A., Vargas, C., San Luis, C., Inmaculada, G., Cañadas, G. R., & De la Fuente, E. I. (2015). Risk factors and prevalence of burnout syndrome in the nursing profession. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(1), 240-249.
Laschinger, H. K. S., & Fida, R. (2014). New nurses burnout and workplace wellbeing: The influence of authentic leadership and psychological capital. Burnout Research, 1(1), 19-28.
Mohammadpoorasl, A., Maleki, A., & Sahebihagh, M. H. (2012). Prevalence of professional burnout and its related factors among nurses in Tabriz in 2010. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 17(7), 524-529.
Nowrouzi, B., Lightfoot, N., Larivière, M., Carter, L., Rukholm, E., Schinke, R. & Belanger-Gardner, D. (2015). Occupational Stress Management and Burnout Interventions in Nursing and Their Implications for Healthy Work Environments. Workplace Health & Safety, 63(7), 308-315.
Suñer-Soler, R., Grau-Martín, A., Flichtentrei, D., Prats, M., Braga, F., Font-Mayolas, S., & Gras, M. E. (2014). The consequences of burnout syndrome among healthcare professionals in Spain and Spanish speaking Latin American countries. Burnout Research, 1(2), 82-89.
Zanatta, A. B., & De Lucca, S. R. (2015). Prevalence of Burnout syndrome in health professionals of an onco-hematological pediatric hospital. Journal of the Nursing School of the University of Sao Paulo, 49(2), 251-258.