Why staff morale is key for sharps safety

Why staff morale is key for sharps safety - Image Credit: Steve Debenport

Thursday July 30 2015

Hospitals and other healthcare organisations know that sharps safety is an important part of ensuring that staff can work in a healthy environment, with the risk of occupational hazards being kept as low as possible.

However, it can be difficult to engage staff in these policies. Healthcare workers are often under pressure to balance patient care and targets, so adding something else into their daily routine can be a challenge to justify.

Sharps safety is an essential part of ensuring that each member of staff in the hospital - from refuse workers to surgeons - are not exposed to any additional risks, as well as the patients they treat.

Engaging staff who are already overworked, stressed and tired, like many healthcare workers, can be a particular challenge. However, ensuring that staff morale remains high is one of the most important factors for making sure any policy, including needlestick prevention legislation, is adhered to.

But how can you ensure that staff morale is as high as possible in your department, team or even across an entire hospital?

Empower your staff
Making sure that each staff member feels empowered is one of the main ways to ensure that their morale remains high, especially in a hospital environment. Many healthcare workers enter the sector because they care about patients. However, if they feel as though they are useless, not listened to and just a social security number, they are unlikely to engage with any policies that are introduced. 

However, for major organisations it can be difficult to ensure that each employee feels empowered to speak up and recommend changes, especially when people are of many different levels of role. 

Ensuring that each staff member has a process by which they can share concerns, report incidents and recommend changes can help make healthcare workers feel empowered in their role. Appraisals can be a brilliant way of achieving this. They offer the rare chance for people to speak face-to-face with their superiors and they shouldn't just focus on what the employee can do better. It's also important that there is space for staff to share any thoughts they have and that the right environment is created so they feel supported in speaking about where improvements could be made.

Value employees
Not feeling valued is detrimental to staff morale regardless of what sector they are working in, but for healthcare workers not feeling appreciated can have a significant impact on patient care.

Employers can avoid this by introducing schemes that reward staff members. This can be having regular social events or even having monthly prizes for people that have gone above and beyond their job description.

Not only are staff more likely to engage with policies if they feel valued in their role, but they are also more likely to give patients the highest standard of care possible.

By making healthcare workers feel empowered to make changes and feel valued in their roles, hospitals and medical organisations can give sharps safety policies the best chance of being adhered to every day.