Surveying Hospital EmployeesTo a greater or lesser degree, any employee attitude survey the subject of an earlier post must be customized for the particular organization doing the surveying.
As someone who has been involved in a considerable number of training projects for healthcare companies, I'm always interested in examples of how the distinctive characteristics of healthcare delivery are reflected in the way healthcare organizations handle training needs assessment, including their use of employee feedback obtained via surveys.
A few weeks ago, I picked up the March 1 edition of Caring Headlines, a house organ of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), that happened to have a brief article by Jeanette Ives Erickson, senior VP for Patient Care and chief nurse, describing Mass General's Staff Perceptions of the Professional Practice Environment Survey.
The survey, which has been in use since 1996, is sent to all direct care providers (e.g., nurses) in Patient Care Services a total of about 3,000 clinicians. The survey covers eight organizational characteristics that are central to the hospital's professional practice model:
- Autonomy being self-governing and exercising professional judgment in a timely fashion.
- Clinician-MD relationships relationships with physicians that facilitate exchange of important clinical information.
- Control over practice sufficient organizational status to influence others and deploy resources when necessary for good patient care.
- Communication degree to which patient-care information is related promptly through open channels of communication.
- Teamwork unity of effort in the pursuit of shared objectives.
- Conflict management degree to which managing conflict is addressed using a problem-solving approach.
- Internal work motivation self-generated motivation completely independent of external factors such as pay, supervision or co-workers (see intrinsic motivation).
- Cultural sensitivity a set of attitudes, practices, and/or policies that respects and accepts cultural differences.
The areas most frequently cited as needing attention were teamwork and conflict management. Erickson noted that several current MGH classes address conflict management, and that additional classes are being developed. As for teamwork, Erickson reported that MGH is working on a variety of systems improvements, building relationships with colleges and universities to ease the current workforce shortage, and pursuing other improvements through its recently launched Center for Innovations in Care Delivery.