Do you leave work feeling unsatisfied? Sure, there are those days where everything goes wrong and we question whether we can go back the next day. But if you consistently feel burnt out, or dread going to work, your job isn’t scoring very high on the satisfaction scale. It’s possible that looking for a new job is a viable way out. But it’s equally as possible that you can increase your job satisfaction — and the satisfaction of other nurses — right where you are, with these 6 tips.
1. Practice speaking up
Clear and assertive communication is strongly associated with job satisfaction and nurse retention. Afraid to speak up? Start by reading “Silence Kills: The Seven Crucial Conversations in Healthcare,” and follow with “The Silent Treatment: Why Safety Tools and Checklists Aren’t Enough to Save Lives.” Both reports will help you recognize situations where communication is critical, as well as give you the tips for starting those conversations.
2. Shine a spotlight on nurse-physician relationships
Collaborative relationships between nurses and physicians is associated with safer patient care and improved job satisfaction. Why? One reason could be that increased collaboration creates an environment for clear communication, resulting in fewer errors, fewer tensions and fewer assumptions. If the quality of nurse-physician relationships in your institution is lacking, this could be a worthwhile area to foster change.
3. Take on a new challenge
Variety is one of the factors associated with nurse job satisfaction, according to this study abstract published in Research in Nursing & Health. If you think your unhappiness may be related to a lack of variety, consider taking on something new, such as a certification or institutional committee.
4. Create a lunch break culture
Maslowe’s hierarchy of needs applies to more than just your patients. Taking a regular lunch break not only allows you to address your physical needs, like eating and using the restroom, but it gives you mental space to decompress and regroup. Every nurse deserves a lunch break.
5. Start a practice change
Is there a practice area in your unit or institution that gets in the way of doing your job effectively? Or do you notice consistent errors in an area of patient care? Identifying a problem and working to change it can take you from hating your job to feeling proud that you’ve made it a better place.
6. Become active in your state nurses association chapter
Perhaps what you’re looking for is connection to something larger than your day-to-day work. Maybe your lack of job satisfaction stems more from wanting to participate in the nursing profession in a way that your job simply can’t give you. Becoming active in your state nurses association can make you feel more fulfilled and more connected to your work. It also increases your networking pool and may enlighten you to opportunities you weren’t aware of, in case it really is time to look for a new job.
Have you had an experience in which you changed your level of job satisfaction? Tell us how!