🏥 How to Be Happier in the Hospital


Something unexpected happened earlier this week...

I had a really great shift in the ED.✨

Normally that might not be a big deal, but it was a bit of a surprise to me considering that I woke up at 4:15am for a 6am shift after only getting 3 hours of sleep the night before😴. This was also my third shift at my new job, so I'm still very unfamiliar with all the personnel and protocols🙃.

And yet, things went well. The medical student, residents and I took care of a good amount of patients, the mood was upbeat, I had plenty of time to do some teaching and feedback...we were pretty locked in🔒.

It got me thinking about the steps all healthcare workers can take to be happier while working in the hospital. Here's what I came up with:

  1. It starts with attitude🤨. Our mindset when we approach a task or an obstacle plays a large role in dictating how we navigate and feel about it. I'd be lying if I said I was a ray of sunshine so early in the morning🌞, but I knew I wanted to have a good day so I set the intention to be positive and ready to work. That not only helped boost my mood, but the moods of those around me as well⬆️.
  2. Make genuine connections🫱🏽‍🫲🏽. Since I am still new in this role, I have a lot of work to do getting to know the residents, nurses, and other supporting staff. Whenever there was a down moment, I made the effort to chat with others and learn more about them. This is useful because (1) people like to talk about themselves and get a little ego boost, and (2) it lays the groundwork to building more familiar and collegial relationships🏗️.
  3. Create a safe space for feedback🗣️. The only way a team can get better is if they receive constructive feedback about their performance. Some of the techniques I employed to help accomplish this were asking the residents what specifically they were working on before the shift and asking them if they were in a space to receive feedback when I had some to provide⌚. This broke down a lot of the barriers that sometimes surround feedback. Residents knew exactly what I would be evaluating and knew when feedback was about to be delivered.
  4. A dash of humor goes a long way🤣. Is there anything that helps promote positivity and grow relationships quite like a good laugh? Once the residents understood how I operated and vice versa, we felt comfortable enough to crack a few jokes that put a smile on everyone's face. Even reflecting on that right now makes me smile, and that's never a bad thing!😸
  5. Support your team and your team will support you🫂. At the end of the day, working in the hospital is and always will be a team sport. A team mentality can be a superpower when it comes to accomplishing important goals like caring for sick patients🤒. When my residents had issues they came to me for guidance and assistance. Conversely, when I had questions or was getting lost in the ED, they were there to point me in the right direction🎯.

This list is applicable to anyone and everyone. The medical student on their first clinical rotation🧑🏼‍⚕️, the travel nurse at their new assignment💉, the attending working in an unfamiliar department🙋🏽‍♂️…even someone outside of the medical field entirely!

A career in healthcare can be tough😪, but I genuinely believe that these principles can empower us to build a happier and healthier work environment for all💙.