Healthy Work Environment

Your tools for success: Looking at today’s challenges and tomorrow’s goals

Providing exceptional care to our patients is only possible with satisfied and high-performing nurses who find their work rewarding and who are committed to their patients, their teams and a better future for everyone. To empower our nurses in their team and individual goals, Sentara nurse leaders designed unique-to-Sentara tools — including our Healthy Work Environment (HWE) Ecosystem Pie Charts and Legacy Maps — to track career successes and plans for an inspiring career path.

Healthy Work Environments are important to the welfare of nurses for successful recruitment and retention and for patient safety and quality. Nurses should assess measures that support HWE standards. Color-coded pie charts depict nursing units’ current performance based on quality, safety and outcomes.

Team leaders color pie sections green (goal met), yellow (within 10% of goal) or red (not meeting goal) and display the chart in an easily viewed location so that nurses can glance at their unit’s progress.

One year after introducing the Healthy Work Environment Pie Charts in the spring of 2017, they’ve proven to be a success in our ongoing effort to boost our nurses’ engagement:

  • This tool is based on the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Essentials of Healthy Work Environments.
  • A strong majority of Nurse Leaders (72.4%) rated the charts as somewhat or very useful.
  • Systemwide nurse engagement improved by 3% in 2018 over 2017.
  • Nurse turnover improved from 7.6% in June 2017 to 7.4% in June 2018. 

Legacy Maps

Legacy maps are a career planning tool unique to Sentara. Each nurse completes one with his or her supervisor. The time spent together in contemplation allows both individuals to identify a goal. The map guides the nurse to visualize and note the tools and steps that are necessary to secure a dream job right here at Sentara.

Our nurse leaders partner with staff to support clear work goals along with career aspirations. Strategies for ongoing retention in the myriad of opportunities for Sentara nurses have helped to improve nursing retention throughout 2018.

A NURSE’S STORY: Lynae Hutchinson, BSN, RN
Labor and Delivery Nurse, Sentara Obici Hospital

“The mom always looks at me and tells me, ‘Thank you so much. Thank you for helping me stay comfortable and thank you for helping me get through this experience.’ I remember the first time I heard that as a labor and delivery nurse and thinking, ‘This is exactly where I’m supposed to be.’”

Securing our dream jobs with legacy maps

“About six months into my first nursing job at Sentara, I was coming up on my evaluation. That was the time for me to sit down and talk about my goals with my manager in the step-down unit.

I learned about the legacy map and I thought it was a great idea because it makes people really think about where they see themselves in the future — maybe it’s six months, a year, or five years down the road. It makes you focus on your goals and aspirations and how you could move up.

I told my supervisor that ever since I did my nursing school rotations, I was interested in bringing life into the world. I was excited to be able to put down on the legacy map where I wanted to be and the goals that I wanted to achieve. We talked about that and the education and other things that could help. I was halfway through my BSN, and I was committed to earning it. She told me about certifications that could help in my then current role and a possible future job in labor and delivery.

My boss arranged for me to shadow someone in labor and delivery, and that person was amazing. I was so lucky to have two mentors — my supervisor and the woman I shadowed. Turns out, the labor and delivery nurse put in a great word for me with her manager. Within a few months, I had a new job in labor and delivery. I love it. I think the legacy map was a great tool to be able to reach the goals that the nurses have in mind. Sentara gives a ton of room for you to be able to grow as a nurse.”

A NURSE’S STORY: DeShonta Roberts, BSN, RN
Clinical Manager, Leader DAISY award winner and two team DAISY awards winner, Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital

“Wanting to make a difference keeps me going to work every day. I stay strong so that I can motivate and encourage my staff. I want them to reach high. I want everyone who comes to this floor to know that the patients receive the best care possible.”

Creating healthy work environments with easy-to-read tools

“Right from the beginning, I thought the pie chart was an excellent idea. It’s a very good tool to see what’s going on in your department at a quick glance. You immediately know if you’re meeting your goals. It helps the staff because it’s not hard to read with lots of numbers or too much information. It’s just real quick.

I like the way it’s customized for your department and focuses on the measures we work on in support of our strategic plan.

We keep the pie chart posted in our conference room, and every day in our huddles, we address outliers as we have them. Most quarters, we’re seeing six of our eight metrics in green. We pay attention to the green sections still, while focusing on the yellows and bringing them up.

Being an engaged leader is important to me. Even though some team members are older than me, I think of them as my children. With my own child, I’m always telling her to do her best, don’t be mediocre. I tell the staff the same and take time to review whatever they are unsure about, again and again if it helps. Reinforcing what we’ve learned needs to be done sometimes. I’m big on one-on-one coaching. If a nurse is doing something new, I remind her to consult the policy first. I want to get my staff to see the ‘why’ of what we do.”

Healthy Work Environment Sample

Easy-to-read Healthy Work Environment Pie Charts allow us to gauge our quarter-by-quarter success in each hospital unit with just a quick glance.

Sentara Nursing Report