Mental Wellness and the Impact on Team Performance
Mental wellness, burnout, stress, meditation yoga…. What the heck? As a healthcare leader we have seen and heard it all. How are we supposed to distinguish and then support yet another thing?
As an experienced leader in healthcare systems, I have found that supporting your team yields massive results both in performance and in gaining influence to create future positive change.
Dr. Bern Melnyk at The Ohio State University College of Nursing conducted a study that demonstrated that a clinician’s physical and mental health directly impacts the care outcomes of the patients they serve.
The focus of our healthcare organizations in supporting patient care is threatened by invisible stressors that are tearing our clinicians from their work. This includes taking their focus, their effort, and even their lives away from the duty of their professional work. Healthcare leaders have to prioritize their team’s mental wellness in order to build teams that meet their obligation to the public.
Where Do I Begin?
There are a few steps that nurse leaders can take to get started:
Get to know the difference between mental health and mental wellness
This is a nuanced, but important, topic because our resources focus specifically on mental wellness. (You can dive deeper into this notion here.)
Mental wellness is the focus on mental well-being: our emotions, our thoughts and feelings, our ability to solve problems and overcome difficulties, our social connections, and our understanding of the world around us.
On the other hand, mental health, or illness, is any illness that affects the way people think, feel, behave, or interact with others. There are many different mental illnesses, and they have different symptoms that impact peoples’ lives in different ways. Many times this requires various levels of care to support properly.
Take a moment for yourself
Supporting your team means you need the capacity to do so. By taking a few moments to assess your own wellness you can begin to determine your capacity to support others. This assessment is a good place to start.
Acknowledge the commitment to your team’s performance
Healthcare leaders are bombarded with tasks, deadlines, and deliverables every hour. Embarking on supporting your team’s wellness will directly impact these in a positive way. Take a moment and commit to making time for yourself and your team, and you will be changing the system to be healthier, happier, and more productive. There is no perfect way to start, but simply doing so is a positive step in the right direction.
You can sign our pledge here as a commitment to yourself to support your team.
Use our resources
This is not one of those times to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. There are great and vetted resources to support you and your team throughout this process. Check out the At Work and My Team sections of our resource to learn more.
Why Is Team Mental Wellness Important?
We get it: Healthcare leaders are busy, stressed, and under immense pressure. Making time for one more thing is tough, but you should hear this one out. Your team’s performance, including the clinical outcomes they support, are directly impacted by their mental wellness. Check out these stats for those who are experiencing stress and are unsupported in their work life:
- 12% quit
- 48% decrease their work effort
- 78% report decreased organizational commitment
These numbers, on top of burnout and turnover rates, are staggering. It’s a pandemic inside a pandemic… a twindemic (except one of these issues is not novel and has been long due for attention).
As leaders, we have to hold ourselves accountable to support our teams for the simple reason that if we don’t, people will die. Patients, team members, and organizations all are at extreme risk. The good news is that we have the capacity to impact the outcomes.
Just by starting here, we can change the system. Over 1,500 nurses we surveyed are pleading with us to change the system. Let’s make healthcare the healthiest place to work and thrive as a professional. This is a call to action, this is our time. Let’s lead the future of care, starting now.