A healthy workplace environment promotes positive working condition thus enhancing the company production; and, employee satisfaction and state of health.
The achievement of healthy workplace environment will improve the quality of healthcare services as well as aide in the recruitment and retention of healthcare workers. Various institutions in the healthcare industry already identified the importance of the establishment of healthy workplace environment hence these institutions are making steps to achieve this goal.
At present, the healthcare industry is facing problems on the retention and recruitment of healthcare employees(Committee & Health, 2002). Deterioration of the quality of life of the labor component of healthcare industry is a multi-dimensional crisis that greatly affects the quality of care provided by this industry.
Problems in the healthcare industry that is associated with the health of the employees include the following: absenteeism due to diseases and injury; and, affliction of employees with stress that decreases their productivity in the workplace(Koehoorn, 2002).
It could not be prevented that once an employee is absent problems occur such as finding someone who will be able to temporarily perform the duties and responsibilities of the absent employee. The organization is affected because the delegation of tasks is disrupted.
The present shortages in the workforce in healthcare system threaten the capacity of the industry to sustain the increasing healthcare demands. To be able to maintain the provision of quality healthcare services appropriate actions must be undertaken to address this problem.
A healthy working environment must be provided to recruit new members of the healthcare work force as well as retain the old ones. The environment in healthcare institutions must promote workplace health so as to improve the well-being of the employees. The interventions that for the problems in the healthcare workforce should be able to overcome these challenges(Committee & Health, 2002).
The insufficiency of the healthcare industry workforce is manifested by the decreased numbers of nurses that are working in the healthcare industry. It is foreseen that the number of nurses will be inadequate to the demands of the health consumers by the year 2020 with a shortage of 400,000 registered nurses.
The indicated cause of this inadequacy of nurses is the working condition wherein the nurses are exposed to. Their work environments predispose the nurses to different forms of stress agents and overwork hence the occurrence of health related diseases and the difficulty in recruitment of new nurses(Shirey 2006).
Nurses play an important role in the delivery of healthcare services to the consumers so the inadequacy of the nursing workforce has a great impact to the healthcare industry. It deprives various healthcare consumers of the services that they badly need.
Excellence in the provision of healthcare is not attained if the working environment is not healthy. Evidences substantiate that unhealthy work setting in healthcare results into medical errors, additional stress to the healthcare workforce, and unsuccessful delivery of healthcare services. The presence of negative and unsafe conditions in the healthcare environment deteriorates the services provided and thus increases the dissatisfaction of the consuming public(Nurses, 2005).
Health is the wellness of the mental, physical, and social aspects of an individual in addition to the nonexistence of disease or medical condition. The capability of a person to function according to its optimal limit is the holistic definition of health. Health has three major aspects which are the physical, mental, and social health. The interactions of these factors determine the wellness of an individual’s health.
The physical health in centered on the wellness of the body emphasizing on the level of fitness, sufficiency in nutrition, and absence of disease. Soundness of the mental and emotional characteristics of a person is termed as mental health.
Mental health governs the satisfaction of the employee to the job, capacity to sustain the demands of the job, decreased amount of stress that affects the employee, and the optimistic outlook in life and work(Health Promotion Board HPB 2003).
The definition of a healthy workplace evolved from governing only health and safety to inclusion of health practice and psychosocial factors that affects the health of the employee. The modern approach to the attainment of a healthy workplace environment is an integration of three factors: workplace environment, personal resources, and health practices.
The assimilation of strategies and programs to improve the health of the employee is termed as workplace health(Canada, 2004).
The establishment of policies, measures, and systems that achieves the goals of the organization as well as the attainment of work satisfaction among the employees is another definition of a healthy working environment. Learning organizations, work setting that promotes the well-being of the employee, patient centered environment, and joyful workplaces are the philosophical elements of an effective healthy work setting(Shirey 2006).
The complexity of a healthy workplace environment is associated with the following themes: healthy living of the employees, general working conditions, physical work setting, culture in the workplace, and health services(Canada, 2004).
General advantages of having a healthy working setting include the retention of employees, increase in the productivity of the company, uplifting of employee morale and satisfaction, and ease in the recruitment processes.
Some specific benefits that can be generated with having an initiate of establishment of healthy workplace environment are improvements on: cooperation from the workforce sector; creativity, company loyalty; deduction in the number of absences among the workers; and decrease in the medical leave of employees, reduction in accidents that happen in the premises of the workplace; lessen health costs; and decreased employee turn over(Health Promotion Board HPB 2003).
There six standards that are associated to the institution and maintenance of healthy work environment setting. These are: skilled communication, true collaboration, effective decision making, appropriate staffing, meaningful recognition, and authentic leadership.
These standards are the measures employed to gauge the efficiency of the initiative in the establishment of a healthy work setting. The first standard in clinical practice in healthcare requires adequate communication to be able to provide efficient service. True collaboration among the healthcare providers must be instituted to produce a healthcare service that is of excellent quality.
Employment of healthcare service providers must be done with the consideration to the capacity of the employee to perform the work. Decision making is a normal component of any work thus healthcare workforce needs to be able to formulate policies; direct and assess the clinical care; and spearhead the organizational operations.
The value of an individuals work can be uplifted with the acknowledgment of one’s work which is another standard in the provision of healthy environment in the workplace.
The establishment of any organization as well as the provision of healthcare environment needs to be with a leader that will ensure the safety and proper delegation of staff workloads. The aforementioned elements need to be integrated to produce a working environment that have humane practices; safe; and considerate of the rights, responsibilities, demands, and needs of other people especially the patient’s family and the patient himself(Nurses, 2005).
Manifestations of a healthy working environment in healthcare are composed with four elements and these are: work setting wherein respect of the employees exists fairly and individual employee’s value is observed; existence of trust among the employees and the management; presence of a healthy working culture that encourages communication and partnership among the workforce, and, between the workforce and the management; and, observance of emotional and physical well-being of the employees.
The healthy work setting is characterized by the family-like atmosphere, happy environment, and effective organizational structure(Shirey 2006).
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