Safety Concerns and Employee Morale

Safety Concerns and Employee Morale

Grand Canyon University: HLT_308V_0501

Safety Concerns and Employee Morale


We will be discussing safety concerns and employee morale and how they go together. Safety goes so much farther than practice concerns; being short staffed, abusive patients, can lead to not only clinical safety but can lead to patient safety concerns; clinical errors, overworked staff due to being short staffed. Having a clinical staff that is overworked not only can cause clinical errors but can also lead to employee morale being down and high turnover.


2. Patient Safety

  1. Safety Concerns in a healthcare setting
    • Short staff
    • Abusive patients

    A. Clinical errors

    B. Overworked staff

    3. Employee Moral

    A. Appreciation

    B. Monetary Rewards


    Supportive Data

    1. Some key employee safety concerns can be broken down to short staff and abusive patients. Which opens the doors to increased issues such as clinical errors, patient safety concerns, employee morale decreasing.
      • Patient Safety can and will become a concern with short staffed clinics and facilities because it can lead to clinical errors.
      • Employee Moral will decline due to overworked staff and increased amount of clinical errors puts patients and staff in harm’s way. With decreased employee morale staff begins to feel underappreciated and causes a negative effect on employee retention.
    2. Implementation Strategies

      1. Safety Concerns in a healthcare setting
        • For several decades, health services researchers have reported associations between nurse staffing and the outcomes of hospital care. Safety concerns for patients and staff have been linked to nurses working short staffed. Initial reports from the early 1990’s concluded there was no link between the two, but several years later new studies emerged and showed a large link between patient safety and low nursing staff. Cuts in nursing staff led to heavier workloads, which heightened concern about the adequacy of staffing levels in hospitals and the quality of care that was provided to patients (Hughes, 2008).
        • The health care sector leads all other industries, with 45 percent of all nonfatal assaults against workers resulting in lost workdays in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Hughes, 2008) The BLS rate of nonfatal assaults to workers in “nursing and personal care facilities” was 31.1 per 10,000, vs. only 2.8 per 10,000 in the private sector as a whole Hughes, 2008).
        • Patient Safety
        • Nursing errors commonly revolve around patient falls, infections, medication errors, documenting errors, and equipment injuries. These include failure to: collaborate with other healthcare team members, clarify interdisciplinary orders, ask for and offer assistance, utilize evidence-based performance guidelines or bundles, communicate information to patients and families, limit overtime, and adequately staff patient care units with enough nurses to allow them to safely provide care (Delamont, 2013).
        • Depending on the type of patient safety incident, when nursing workload exceeded the “optimal” level, the risk of incident increased by 8 percent to 32 percent; the risk of patient mortality increased by 43 percent if workload exceeded this level. The study revealed when workload dropped below that level, leaving nurses with more time to care for patients, the risks of a safety incident was approximately 25 percent lower (Knowels, 2018).
        • Employee Morale
        • Staff morale is an important metric for all organizations to maneuver, but it should be of the utmost importance. It is a trying time for healthcare, as the industry continues to grow while facing a nursing shortage, along with many unknowns of the nursing future. Competition to recruit experienced providers is intense, leaving organizations grappling to find ways to leverage the staff they currently have to keep up with the patient demand (Larson, 2017). Hospitals need to be making smart hiring choices and staffing decisions to drive a positive workforce and see a greater return on investment. Put simply, happy employees’ equal greater productivity and lower turnover for an organization, which translates to improved patient care and satisfaction (Larson, 2017).
        • Incentives for better performance in health care have several modes and methods. This system has been applied in several countries and for several recipients and settings, early indications show that this system has had mixed effects on performance (Abduljawad & Al-Assaf, 2011).
      2. Evaluation Strategies

        1. Implementing ideas and creating different way to learn things can be difficult at times. An explanation of why learning things are important and providing information that benefits an employee will be helpful. Changes to some structural processes can be challenging. To implement positive and successful changes, there would need to be education provided to all staff members.
          • Communicating changes and education can be challenging at times but all employees would need to be held accountable in one way or another. Educational modules can be implemented with questions or quizzes at the end to assure they understand any new processes or protocols. Managing people through training courses equips leaders and managers with the essential skills to seamlessly implement change within their organization.
          • Education regarding safety is important to have at least quarterly to remind employees of safety processes. Sending emails is also a great way of communication. Employee safety is very important and is a main factor of reasons why you stay with a company. There can be lots of things that can affect employee safety and affect morale. That’s why it is important to stay communicated and keep the education on going.
        2. Challenges and Opportunities

          1. Short staffing impacts the ability of all nurses to deliver safe, quality care at every practice level and in all practice settings. Whether it is a patient, staff or facility. It causes abusive patients, clinical errors and overworked staff. Most importantly, it can lead to safety issues within the practice levels or a facility.
            • When a patient becomes verbally abusive to the nurse, address the issue as soon as it occurs, be firm but polite and tell the patient that you do not like the way he/she is treating you, ask the patient if you have done something to offend them, walk away if you become frustrated. Call security if you feel threatened (Nurseslabs).
            • Employee appreciation is another way to instill culture into all staff members. When we show out staff that they are appreciated they are more eager to comply with policies, do their job to the best of their abilities, and work over time or short staffed sometimes. Although monetary rewards are nice, most nurses would rather be recognized in other ways for a job well done such as being honored with a plaque in front of their colleagues or have their picture hanging at the nurses station.
          2. References

            1. It is crucial for healthcare organizations to recognize the effect of employee safety and morale towards patient care and staff turnover rate. Studies have shown that challenges in the workplace such as short staffing and abusive patients can lead to poor patient outcomes as clinical errors and tired staff becomes more evident. This can greatly influence how staff views their work prospect and opt to leave for another job for a better work environment.
              • The article, “Nurse Turnover and Perceived Causes and Consequences: A Preliminary Study at Private Hospitals in Indonesia” by Aryo Dewanto and Viera Wardhani (2018), demonstrates that organizations should implement strategies in preventing resignations by improving working conditions to reduce turnover rates and retain happy and fulfilled staff that will carry out the goals of the organization. To achieve this, upper management should consider training new employees properly so that they feel confident in carrying out their duties. They should develop a work culture that helps staff improve from their errors rather than seeking punitive measures.
              • In addition, investing in new employees so that units are properly staffed can reduce fatigue, work overload and growing dissatisfaction from the current staff. Compared to the costs of re-hiring and training new staff, organizations will reduce costs in the long term. When the staffs are content with their working conditions, it will also reflect on patient care. They will receive a higher quality of care as nurses have more time and less stress for them. By addressing these two common reasons that lead nurses to quit, it can improve hospital operations and reduce hospital costs.
            2. Abduljawad, A., & Al-Assaf, A. F. (2011, May). Incentives for better performance in health care. Retrieved July 13, 2019, from

              Delamont, A. (2013). How to avoid the top seven nursing errors. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!, 11(2), 8-10. doi:10.1097/01.nme.0000426302.88109.4e

              Hughes, R. (2008). Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. S.l.: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

              Knowles, M. (2018, May 4). Study: Overworked nurses may be linked to 40% increase in risk of patient death. When nurses’ workload exceed. Retrieved July 13, 2019, from

              Larson, J. (2017, February 17). The link between staff morale and patient care, and how predictive analytics can help: Healthcare leaders have put an emphasis on having the right workplace ‘culture’ in recent years, as organizations have made the connection that having the right people in the right places is their most valuable resource. Retrieved July 13, 2019, from

              Dewanto, Aryo and Wardhani, Viera. (2018). Nurse Turnover and Perceived Causes and Consequences: A Preliminary Study at Private Hospitals in Indonesia. Retrieved from

              4 Ways on How to Deal with Verbally Abusive Patients. (2017, January 18). Retrieved July 10, 2019, from

              Practical steps for applying acuity-based staffing. (2017, July 28). Retrieved July 10, 2019, from