Toxic work environments have a negative affect on both healthcare workers and patients
The energy in the workplace of healthcare workers can make or break their success, says Tom Chang, MD. A positive environment will lead to positive outcomes for employers and employees. On the other hand, a toxic work environment in the medical field can lead to negative outcomes for everyone, including patients.
The primary duty of a caregiver is to care for the whole patient. The ability to provide that care can be impacted in a toxic work environment.
It is the belief of healthcare experts like Dr. Tom Chang, MD that much of the foundation of a healthy work environment comes from the management. However, this environment also develops from the bottom up. It is the obligation of everyone, says Dr. Chang, to do things that contribute to great work culture and exceptional patient care. Setting the expectation for healthy work habits ensures that even those who come along later conform to the standards already set.
To promote a positive work environment, Tom Chang, MD has suggested ways experts like himself help promote a healthy work culture and positive work environment.
Tom Chang, MD’s Focus on Stronger Leadership
Changing the work culture of an institution in a bid to promote a positive work environment requires the support and buy-in of the management. The top-level workers set the tone for behaviors for others to follow, says Tom Chang, MD. For the environment to support growth, personal agendas need to be set aside.
A positive work environment is an essential part of the long-term success of any organization. By supporting joint efforts across various sectors and adopting positive thinking, Tom Chang, MD suggests that by these means, the workplace can be more fun, and productivity will increase. Yes, the management plays a crucial role in promoting a positive work environment, says Dr. Chang. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of everyone within the system to drive a culture that fosters a positive work system.
Tom Chang, MD’s Advice? Learn to Give and Receive Feedback
To err is human. Healthcare workers are only human and are bound to make mistakes. At some point in your medical career, says Tom Chang, MD, you will make mistakes- and witness people make mistakes. The bright side is that you’ll learn from them, which will help you make more informed decisions next time.
It’s essential not to take feedback or criticism to heart. The person giving you feedback isn’t trying to bring you down; they’re telling you because they want to help you improve as a healthcare worker.
On the other hand, if you’re the one giving the feedback, it is vital to do so respectfully and constructively. Try to deliver your feedback in a constructive manner. Constructive feedback can help your colleagues feel like they are being helped, not scolded. A workplace where people are constructively criticized is a workplace where mistakes become scarce and growth thrives.
Encourage Good Behavior and Communication
Simple, clear-cut, and honest communication builds a strong foundation for a team. It creates a sense of community, says Tom Chang, MD, that will contribute to the group’s success as they grow. Behavior is subjective, and what is said or done can be seen differently by different colleagues. However, it is counterproductive to display behaviors that are offensive, abusive, and intimidating. These behaviors make the recipient feel threatened, vulnerable and may cause them to suffer stress.
The general atmosphere around a team is backed by good communication. Setting up efficient and effective methods to communicate is essential. A few ways to achieve this include:
- Using dedicated channels for new projects
- Including co-workers to appropriate information chains
- Posting team priorities in a public space for all to reference.
These items listed above are things that everyone can do to ensure that the workplace is a professional and pleasant environment.
What behavior is acceptable?
In practical terms, how you are expected to act, dress and relate with patients, families, and other fellow healthcare workers define the standard of behavior. While these standards are essential to living out your values daily in your workplace, nothing is more important than patient safety and quality care. Hence, Dr. Chang’s candid opinion is that the only acceptable behavior is that which places the safety and care of a patient as a priority.
What behavior isn’t acceptable?
Often, behaviors, comments, and non-verbal responses that can offend can be challenging to recognize. A casual comment over a cup of coffee might be acceptable to some, but not to others. Dr. Tom Chang has identified some behaviors that occur and can impede the extent to which quality healthcare is delivered. Some of these include:
- Demeaning and unwarranted comments, Outbursts of anger.
- Jokes or non-clinical statements about race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical appearance, gender, or academic status.
- Abusive, disrespectful, or profane language
- Avoidable arguments with patients, family members, care providers, or other staff
- Embarrassing or rudely criticizing colleagues and co-workers amid patients, visitors, or other staff.
- Refusal to abide by known and generally accepted practice standards which in turn hinders other team members from delivering quality care.
The methods of promoting a good work environment suggested by Dr. Chang are things he puts into practice. In the recent acquisition of Schultz Eye Clinic, the founding team of Acuity Eye Group, which includes Tom Chang, MD, pledged to provide the best-in-class patient care for all those who need it. Providing the best care includes promoting a positive work environment that improves patients’ quality of life. Dr. Chang and his partners accomplish this through excellence in eye care and patient experience.
“I’ve known both Dr. Tom Chang and Mike Samuel for quite some time. “It’s apparent that Acuity Eye Group is a leader in the ophthalmology and retina space and provides high-quality services and support to both its doctors and its patients.” Gerald Schultz says in affirmation to their mission to promote a positive work environment wherever they work.