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The study involved gathering more than 12,000 e-mail diary entries from the participants, which revealed that making progress in one's work, no matter how little or big, is associated with positive emotions and high motivation. The survey noted when participants experienced progress in their jobs, 76% of people reported it as their best day.

The report suggested that managers clarify overall goals, ensure that staff members receive the right support for their efforts, and work to make sure minor glitches are perceived as learning opportunities.

What could hospitals learn from this report?

"The message here, in my opinion, is how out of touch management is with the staff's priorities," says Tonya Barrerre, RN, assistant nurse manager of the emergency department at Robert J. Dole VAMC in Wichita, KS. "Management answered with completely opposite positions regarding what they thought the staff felt was important."

But the reported also cautioned managers not to abandon recognition.

"I firmly believe that recognition is important; however, it needs to be recognition that the employee values," says Sharon Taylor, RN, MS, CIC, CPHRM, CHC, director of risk management and accreditation services at Burgess Health Center in Onawa, IA. "This means that managers must know their employees. What is considered important to one is not necessarily important to another."

Though progress may be the leading motivator of performance, managers should not shy away from recognizing staff for a job well done. If staff members meet or exceed their goals, managers should praise them, as this gesture will continue to motivate workers.

"I also think that we can't overlook the fact that organizations need to have a growth ladder of some type that does give a monetary reward for those who take responsibility for their professional growth," Taylor continues. "Nonmonetary compensation is a must, but at some point we do need to recognize that monetary compensation is also essential to continually motivate staff who excel."

Reported by Sarah Kearns on April 29.

Develop a handoff training program
With more research showing that handoffs are essential to patient safety, the pressure is on for hospitals to teach physicians handoff techniques, but few training tools exist. Developing a toolbox of educational activities and assessments will give your residents the skills they need to conduct handoffs and preserve patient safety.

A didactic lecture is essential for framing the importance of the subject. Include the following topics in your lecture:

  • Why handoffs are important for patient safety
  • Examples showing the number of transitions of care patients may experience during a hospital stay
  • Examples of how a poor handoff can lead to medical errors
  • Specific criteria for excellent verbal and written handoffs

Additionally, review your hospital's procedures for handoffs during the lecture. For example, if your hospital uses an electronic sign-out system, show screenshots of the form to the audience, says Subha Airan-Javia, MD, a hospitalist and information technology physician advisor at the Hospital of The University of Pennsylvania, who trains residents and medical students on how to conduct handoffs.

This familiarizes physicians with the form and shows them the exact information they should include in the sign-out and how it should be formatted, Airan-Javia explains.

Another option is to use role-playing to highlight the systems-based issues that commonly contribute to breakdowns in handoff communication, says Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP, associate director of the internal medicine residency program at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

"We role-play a very bad handoff, and we ask them to figure out all of the different ways things went wrong."

Reported by Julie McCoy on April 29.

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