The altered sleep-wake cycle that probably plagued you in 2020 doesn’t seem to have adjusted itself. Lingering worries over a global pandemic and economic turmoil that prompted anxiety and wide-awake moments may still be keeping you up at night.
Add to those stressors even more reasons for night terrors:
- Great Resignation
- Violence in the workplace
- Patient expectations
- Cybersecurity threats
- The metaverse
So, what is keeping you up at night, and how do you get through it?
Even before 2020, nurse recruitment hovered near the top of your biggest concerns list. Few facilities had enough nurses to fill their needs. It’s even worse now.
Burnout and high stress continue to drive nurses from their jobs. In a recent report, more than one-third of nurses surveyed plan to quit by year end. They also cite higher salaries, greater flexibility and opportunities for career growth as motivating factors to leave for new positions.
During this Great Resignation, which affects industries across the board, leadership should be keenly aware of employees’ needs and concerns. Staffing shortages and healthcare workers’ mental health top the list of patient safety concerns in 2022. Managing the challenges of recruitment and retainment seems to be long-term, and keeping your employees as the center of your culture is paramount.
Gender, race and ethnic biases also contribute to staff unrest. To maintain a viable workforce, healthcare leaders must be sensitive to biases and committed to breaking down barriers. Employees, particularly millennials and Gen Z’ers, also view your commitment to the community as important as any job benefit.
Violence in the Workplace
A year ago, healthcare employees were treated as heroes. Yet, a recent survey shows that 65 percent of nurses report suffering verbal or physical abuse from patients and/or their families. The American Hospital Association says enough is enough and is asking the Justice Department to make violence against healthcare workers a federal offense.
Consider implementing messages on owned channels that remind audiences about the dedication and life-saving efforts of your staff while requesting patience and kindness. Communicate frequently with employees about what you’re doing to ensure their safety.
The pandemic reshaped the consumer experience and expectations from the way we order food and consumer goods to what we expect from our healthcare interactions, whether via telehealth or in-person visits.
After more than two traumatic years, patients long for compassion and empathy as they adjust to their new normal. Now is the time to reframe your brand based on changes that you’ve undergone and to reengage with all audiences—employees, patients and other stakeholders. Strengthen those bonds by reinforcing brand values, services, expertise and care that have kept them loyal to your system.
Improving patient experiences and satisfaction is necessary for healthcare’s long-term health. Adoption of telehealth during the pandemic paves the way to re-envision patient care with innovations designed for specially for patients.
Mayo Clinic has opened a Hybrid Care Hotel at its Jacksonville, Fla. campus where low-risk surgical patients recover overnight in a hotel rather than hospital room. Cleveland Clinic and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are opening airport lounges to welcome out-of-town patients and connect them with the local areas.
Many healthcare facilities are now using biophilic designs, which integrate natural elements such as rooftop gardens, sunlight and open spaces. The softer approach helps make patients feel healthier and happier.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has probably kept you awake. Aside from the destruction and death of thousands of innocent civilians, the ongoing conflict also poses imminent threats to healthcare facilities. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Russian-affiliated hackers developed plans to attack and disable some 400 US hospitals in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
Government officials continue to warn the healthcare industry to take cybersecurity precautions as the US intensifies sanctions against Russia.
Best Marketing Practices, Despite the Worries
Amazingly, best practices for marketing to internal and external audiences haven’t changed over the past two years. Keep messages consistent. Communicate clearly, openly and honestly. Reinforce your story and brand values.
With all the things keeping you awake at night, it might be easy to become a fear monger. Avoid the temptation and remain optimistic in your messaging. No one wants to put their care in the hands of a brand perceived as weak and scared.
Keep in mind that many of the same things keeping you up at night are also preventing others from getting a good night’s sleep. Know and listen to your audiences. What’s worrying them? What are their needs? How do they want to receive messages from you? Reach them where they spend their time.
Unraveling the mysteries of the metaverse may not actually be keeping you up at night, but it’s one more thing to wrap your brain around at some point. Everyone seems to have different definitions, but basically, when immersed in interactive 3D spaces, you are in the metaverse (not in Zuckerberg’s newly branded Meta).
All this to say, if ongoing worries are keeping you awake at night, try reading about the metaverse. It might be a better sleep aid than melatonin.