iStock_000023311459MediumBy Melinda Juneau,

There is a new buzz word in the work place today, and you probably hear it on a regular basis: culture.

This is a difficult word to define.  What exactly is company culture?  Would an employee actually change companies to experience a different culture? Is company culture important?  How would you measure the effectiveness of your own?

Creating a culture within the healthcare world can be more difficult than in a corporate setting.  There will be noticeable differences, and what some companies will use to define their culture will not be what the healthcare industry will be able to use.   There are companies who offer a relaxed culture and provide their employees such things as unlimited vacation time, relaxed dress, no set arrival/departure times, and even large break rooms with food, couches, and televisions. This is not possible in a healthcare facility. Staff cannot take unlimited vacation time, and they have to arrive at the facility when they are scheduled.  Their attire must fit the safety guidelines so they are able to perform their daily duties. Rooms are at a premium, so it wouldn’t be feasible to devote a large section for staff-use only.

Culture in a Healthcare Facility

The way in which a healthcare facility’s culture can be defined is in how the regulations and protocols are enforced:  a tyrannical, rigid manner or a professional, responsibility-based approach.  Your staff will usually respond positively to the latter, and that can begin to define your culture. It can be more relaxed, but there are certain standards that must be followed because lives are at stake.

Here are some other ways you can implement the culture you want at your facility:  

Easy and Friendly Communication everyone should feel comfortable voicing their concerns, and the lines of communication should be open

A Clear Mission Statement this allows the entire facility to be on the same page for the overall goal. It is important for upper management to relay their own goals for the staff and facility as a whole on a regular basis.

Be Flexible – healthcare is constantly changing and your technology has to as well.  If new technology is introduced, train your staff to be cutting-edge.  Allow the staff to use the resources available to ease the stress of their days.

Provide Training and Professional Improvement – your employees will value a chance to increase their knowledge, and it will benefit your facility. Don’t fall into the trap of “if they learn more, they will leave”. If you give them more responsibility, thereby giving them a chance to grow as a professional, you will have invaluable staff members who perform at higher levels.

Don’t Skimp on Resources by stocking what your staff needs and even what they prefer, work can be done efficiently on a daily basis.

Emphasize Safety this is important to healthcare workers and by following the necessary guidelines, your staff will feel comfortable at work.  This can cut down on absenteeism, which in turn keeps everyone working in their departments and during their scheduled  hours.

Establish a Work /Life Balance– in healthcare this line can get blurred, and you don’t want your staff to be missing out on important personal life events. There is always a need for staff to be present, but it should be correctly scheduled so not one particular person is overworked.

Culture is not solely defined by “cool” perks and benefits; it is also defined by attitude and workplace atmosphere. It is something that can always be improved. Your staff places a lot of value on the culture that is created in their workplace, and you can control the direction.  With budget cuts and increasing healthcare costs, you may need to change the perks you offer, but the facility’s atmosphere should remain positive while providing excellent care. Each department should know its worth but also work to lighten the load for other departments.

If you want to work at a facility with a positive culture, Snelling Medical Professionals can help you find a match for your skill set   Visit us at: and see how you can start enjoying your career again!  Like what you see?  Locate your local Snelling Medical Professionals office and see what exciting opportunities wait for you.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.