As you may have seen in the February issue, in my year serving as President of the American College of Chest Physicians, I will be periodically contributing to CHEST Physician with the latest updates and to serve as a touchpoint for what we are currently working on.
For this contribution, I want to share and reflect upon the recent Nurse Work Environment study published by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Deployed in 2021, the now-published study concluded that there is serious need for “bold, intentional, and relentless” efforts to create and sustain healthy work environments that foster excellence in patient care and optimal outcomes for patients, nurses, and other members of the health care team.
To achieve this, AACN recommends adhering to the Healthy Work Environments (HWE) Standards created in 2005 but that are more pertinent than ever in 2023.
In a previous article for CHEST Physician, I spoke about my goals for 2023 and one of those goals was to focus on increasing the membership of a variety of providers who help care for patients, including advanced practice providers, respiratory therapists, registered nurses, and others. CHEST is already an inclusive organization to a variety of health care providers, but we can do more, and this is a great time to reemphasize the importance of the care team by showing our support of the AACN and the working conditions of nurses.
Beyond supporting other organizations, the CHEST Board of Regents will focus on new ways to make the organization a valuable resource to every member at every level of their career and with every designation.
The (HWE) Standards that I encourage all CHEST members to support include:
- Skilled communication and true collaboration between doctors, nurses and other clinicians.
- Effective decision-making that includes nurses in the process for input and expertise.
- Appropriate staffing that ensures an effective match between patient needs and the skills of the nurse.
- Meaningful recognition by rewarding and appreciating the value that everyone brings to the team.
- Authentic leadership that embraces a healthy work environment and is supportive of every member of the care team.
Let’s all make a dedicated effort to be intentional in our support of our care team colleagues to improve the working environment and overall patient care.
Think of one thing you can do at your own institution or in your practice to improve the work environment for all those on your team. And then make it happen!
Please reach out with ideas or questions.