NURS 6221:Week 7: Fostering a Positive Workplace

Victor, a nurse manager in a critical care unit at Malabar Hospital, has always felt pride in his nursing staff. On many occasions, he has been amazed at the patience they posses and the genuine care that they provide. He has also witnessed the physical and emotional drain that this high-risk environment places on each of his nurses. Victor wonders how he can positively support them through difficult times on the floor. One day, when making his rounds, Victor stops to talk with a patient named Rachelle. After spending 90 days in the critical care unit, Rachelle is finally showing signs of improvement and regaining her strength. “Thank you so much, to you and your staff, for all that you have done. I do not think your team will ever understand how much they are helping in my recovery,” said Rachelle. “I really wish there was a way I could let them know how truly grateful I am.”

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After speaking with Rachelle, Victor devised a plan for how the positive feelings of patients could be shared with nursing staff. He compiled cards, stories, and video segments of patients and families expressing their gratitude. Victor then worked with the HR department to create the first annual “Alumni Day” to honor the nurses. Victor led his staff into a brightly decorated room adorned with cards and photographs of smiling families forever grateful for the nurses’ caring spirit. Victor played the video for his nurses and also had many patients share their memories in person. Alumni Day was a success, allowing each nurse to see the power behind his or her work.

This week, you explore how nurse managers can use their leadership skills to motivate nursing staff. You also examine how positive psychology can contribute to healthy and positive workplaces.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate leadership strategies for building healthy workplace relationships
  • Evaluate positive psychology strategies for increasing positive interactions in the workplace
  • Analyze the impact of intrinsic motivators on professional fulfillment *
  • Evaluate the impact of intrinsic motivators on professional performance *

* The Assignment related to this Learning Objective is introduced this week and submitted in Week 8.

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Lussier, R. N., & Hendon, J. R. (2018). Human resource management: Functions, applications, & skill development (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Chapter 14, “Workplace Safety, Health, and Security” (pp. 508-539)The authors analyze the many factors that contribute to and affect workplace safety. They provide techniques for stress management and how to handle violence in the workplace.

Manion, J. (2011). From management to leadership: Strategies for transforming health care (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

    • Chapter 1, “Leadership: An Elusive Concept” (pp. 1–30)Chapter 1 provides a thoughtful comparison between the functions of management and leadership. It highlights leadership best practices and leaders as change agents.
    • Chapter 2, “Cultivating the Leadership Relationship” (pp. 31–68)This chapter explains how effective leaders cultivate healthy relationships with staff members. The author discusses key leadership characteristics as well as the four essential elements of a healthy leadership relationship: trust, mutual respect, support, and communication.
    • Chapter 4, “Communicating with Clarity” (115–179)Chapter 4 describes the many aspects of communication and how each can affect relationships within the workplace. It includes common forms of miscommunication and tips for becoming a more effective communicator and listener.
  • Chapter 7, “Coaching and Developing Others” (pp. 295–307 only)The selected pages from Chapter 7 examine the misconceptions many leaders have about individual motivations. The author discusses workplace and work-life factors that influence employee motivation.

Achor, S. (2012). Positive intelligence. Harvard Business Review, 90(1/2), 100–102. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article explores the theory that happiness precedes success. The author discusses three basic strategies that people can use to improve their mental well-being and performance at work.

Morse, G. (2012). The science behind the smile: Interview with Daniel Gilbert. Harvard Business Review, 90(1/2), 84–90. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

In this interview, Daniel Gilbert discusses how happiness affects productivity at work. He also explains what makes people happy and how people can achieve it.

Muha, T. M., & Manion, J. (2010). Using positive psychology to engage your staff during difficult times. Nurse Leader, 8(1), 50–54. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Muha and Manion address the vacancies left behind by aging baby boomers and a poor economy. Hospitals must create a positive work environment for the younger nurses who will fill those vacancies.

University of Pennsylvania. (2007). Positive Psychology Center. Retrieved from http://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/

At the Positive Psychology website, you can explore the foundations of the positive psychology movement.

Required Media

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Fostering a positive workplace. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 11 minutes.

Nurses can engage in many strategies that will motivate and foster happiness in their workers. This week’s media reviews these strategies and highlights how nurses can encourage retention efforts in health care settings.

Healthy relationships form the basis for a positive workplace. When staff are engaged in their jobs, supported by one another, and feel a sense of security in their work, healthy relationships among staff members will flourish. Nurse managers can assess the workplace for healthy relationships by observing the interactions among staff members. Are trust, respect, and collegiality evident, or might some staff members display toxic or dysfunctional behaviors toward one another? When toxic or dysfunctional behaviors are evident even among the smallest cohort of staff, nurse managers must take steps to foster positive interactions. In fact, all other efforts to establish a positive workplace will likely fall short if they are not built on the foundation of healthy interpersonal relationships.

In this Discussion, you examine the interactions between employees at your current organization or one with which you are familiar. You also explore positive psychology, a theory of well-being that has helped many workplaces to increase positivity and foster healthy relationships among staff members.

To prepare

  • Review Chapter 2, “Cultivating the Leadership Relationship” in the course text, From Management to Leadership: Strategies for Transforming Health Care. Examine how leaders cultivate healthy relationships among all staff members.
  • Review the article, “Using Positive Psychology to Engage Your Staff during Difficult Times.” How can positive psychology foster healthy workplace relationships and increase staff engagement?
  • Reflect on the interactions you see in your own organization or in one with which you are familiar. What relationships do you observe across different job categories, such as RNs, LPNs, techs, and nursing assistants? Do relationship disparities exist between shifts, departments, or members of different disciplines, such as nursing staff and physicians?
  • Identify environments where unhealthy relationships most commonly occur. What leadership strategies might you use to build healthy relationships among these specific staff members? Furthermore, how could you apply positive psychology to increase positivity in this environment?

By Day 3

Post an explanation of at least two leadership strategies you could implement to build healthy relationships among staff members in the workplace you selected. Cite specific examples in your explanation by identifying the staff members you would target and explaining how your strategies would foster healthy interactions among these staff members. In addition, suggest at least one positive psychology strategy you could employ to increase the ratio of positive to negative interactions in your workplace; explain your rationale.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days using one or more of the following approaches:

  • Validate an idea with your own experience and additional research.
  • Share a strategy your health care setting used to build healthy workplace relationships.
  • Provide additional insights into how positive psychology could help to increase positivity in a colleague’s workplace.

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