The Importance of a Pleasant Work Environment: Scrubs Edition

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Countless studies have shown that a pleasant work environment can greatly improve employees’ mood and productivity.  Things like live plants and natural lighting are great for office environments but don’t always translate to life in scrubs.  We’ve put together 5 tips for creating a pleasant work environment that can help even the busiest of nurses.

1) Minimize Clutter:  Sharing a workspace with others can be challenging, but it doesn’t mean you work life has to be chaotic.  You may not be able to control Nurse Suzy Explosion, but do what you can.  Keep your charts, your area, even your pockets free of as much clutter as possible.  If possible, find a place where you can have some control, whether that’s a corner of the nurses’ station, an empty room, or a supply closet.  If that’s not possible, then grab an organizer you can strap on.  And include your co-workers in the process.  Which brings us to our next tip.

2) Effective Communication:  Nothing makes a work environment more unpleasant than drama.  Be as honest and upfront with your co-workers as possible.   All the organization in the world won’t outweigh a festering interpersonal issue.  Life in scrubs can be challenging to say the least, and we all have tough patients, tough personal issues and tough days, so try to think the best of your co-workers and let the little things go.  When an issue does arise though, address it head on and without delay.  The less time you’ve spent stewing over the offense, the easier it will be to resolve.  And don’t forget the importance of kind and gentle words.  You’ll always catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar.

3) Personal Touches:  You may not have a desk to decorate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with personal touches that make you happy!  Something as simple as a whimsical ID badge holder like this one or some fun socks can bring a smile to your day.  You may not be able to put out framed pictures of your family, but you can always keep a special picture in your pocket or tucked into a locket.  A special coffee cup or travel mug can be a constant reminder of your treasured family, friends or pets, plus it saves the environment.

4) Minimize Stress:  Life in scrubs is inherently stressful, but you can either add to that stress or work to minimize it.  There’s nothing that will make a day more stressful from the very beginning than being late.  Simply being early for your shift can get things off on the right foot.  Plus it shows respect for co-workers you are relieving, reducing friction on that front as well.  Planning ahead for everything from what you’re going to wear to what you are going to eat on your shift can also minimize unnecessary stress.  And don’t forget good self-care both on and off work.  You may not be able to do anything about those dreadful florescent lights, but you can make time every day to get outside.

5) Ergonomics:  Scrub life is rarely sedentary.  However, just because you aren’t setting at a desk all day doesn’t mean you should neglect good ergonomics.  Make sure you invest in good quality, well fitting, ergonomic shoes.  They may not be as adorable, but you feet will thank you after a long shift.  Compression socks can also make a world of difference.  Keep an eye on your posture throughout the day as well.  It may feel relaxing to slump into a chair when you get a chance, but it might be doing you more harm than good.

Now it’s your turn!  We want to hear how you make life in scrubs pleasant!  Share your tips with us on Facebook, Twitter (@tafford) or Instagram (@tafford).

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