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Health care worker catch-22 poses staffing challenge

by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer | December 07, 2011

Engagement and satisfaction are two psychological conditions of health care workers, each measured very differently, according to O'Brien-Paller.

"Being satisfied means you get what you need from your employer; and being engaged means you feel that you can give back from yourself," she said. "The research we have done shows there is a strong statistical significance in the correlation between employee partnership and patient satisfaction."

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There has been an ongoing upward trend in physician partnership over the past five years, although improvements are still required, according to Press Ganey's report. Providing feedback to hospital leaders is a key factor in employee satisfaction and engagement, as evidenced by three of the five items in the Employee Partnership Priority Index, which include influencing policies/decisions, listening and asking for opinions. Coaching and recognizing performance are the other two items.

"Hospital leaders tend to get frustrated by the fact they have to give employees everything they need and want to satisfy them," said O'Brien-Paller. "Instead of being frustrated, I would encourage health care leaders to inspire, educate, recognize and reward staff. Let them find their own way to figure out and deliver what the patients they are caring for want."

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