Making employee well-being a priority
Managers at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota work to keep their staffers happy
Everyone at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota (Fla.) will agree that the organization’s top goal is taking care of patients. But without a healthy staff, that can be harder to accomplish. With that in mind, officials at the 155-bed acute-care facility in the retirement and vacation haven on Florida’s Gulf Coast say management emphasizes the physical and mental well-being of employees as well.
“Healthcare workers are always taking care of others, and it’s sometimes hard for them to remember to take care of themselves,” said Theresa Levering, the hospital’s vice president of human resources.
Doctors Hospital is No. 2 among medium-size providers, No. 2 among providers of all sizes and No. 5 overall in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare for 2015.
The hospital tries to help by giving its 443 employees access to two fitness centers that are open around the clock, and free laboratory work once a year, who can then share the results with their own doctor. Managers try not to schedule employees to work overtime.
But the most popular wellness perk for employees is probably the free massages. Every month, the hospital brings in massage therapists and pays for short massages for any employee who wants one. It’s been so popular on the day shift, it will be soon start on the night shifts.
“You wouldn’t think that massages would make a big difference, but they really do,” said Teresa Greisinger, a staff accountant in the office of the chief financial officer.
Doctors Hospital is in a growing part of Florida, and is growing itself. It is in the midst of a $17 million expansion and renovation that includes a new emergency department and operating rooms, to better accommodate growing patient volumes. Officials say the new facilities also might help reduce stress on clinical staff.
The hospital tries to encourage communication between staff and management through an Employee Advisory Group, as well as regular lunches that include all staff members, as well as top managers like CEO Bob Meade. The hospital also hosts staff lunches with members of the board of directors.
Levering said having employees who feel healthy and well cared for themselves isn’t just a matter of making sure the hospital is adequately staffed, but also having satisfied, engaged employees. That combination can improve patient care and boost patient-satisfaction scores.
“If you have a patient in terrible pain and having a bad day, and (a staff member) is feeling bad or having a bad day, that creates more stress for the patient and we realize that,” Levering said.
Emphasizing the patient experience is important at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota.