Dysfunctional behaviors in healthcare come in different forms and influence an organization’s effectiveness. For example, toxic interactions negatively impact relationships within health organizations (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2018). A toxic trait that I have experienced at my place of work as a nurse practitioner in a primary care facility is the failure to manage unmotivated employees. Under most circumstances, the primary healthcare facility is busy, limiting the time available for employee motivation. Also, the leadership team did not have the system in place to recognize and praise employees for positively contributing to patient care and organizational objectives. Additionally, the working hours were long, which led to burnout among many nurses. However, the leadership did little to address burnout, a factor that significantly demotivated staff. Combined, these factors led many nurses to feel undervalued, overworked, and overstretched. With low morale came demotivation, and patient care suffered (Baljoon et al., 2018). Also, some nurse practitioners left to seek better opportunities; a majority were actively searching for better opportunities, while those that stayed, although satisfied with their pay, remained unsatisfied with the working conditions.
Porter-O’Grady and Malloch (2018) highlight that the challenge is not recognizing underperforming employees but continuing to work with them despite their minimal motivation. While most department staff would point out the organization’s flaws, they remained in their positions due to fear of leaving or an excellent paycheck at the expense of working under such conditions. Leaving their positions would imply giving up on a good salary, retirement benefits, and paid vacations. Porter-O’Grady and Malloch (2018) describe this as career entrenchment, where individuals remain in their vocation due to the investment made and a presumption about minimal career opportunities. This leads many employees to make peace with staying in a toxic work environment despite the unhappiness and satisfaction they experience.
Developing suitable systems that motivate employees can encourage the willingness to grow and thrive in a working environment. An example of such is to adopt recognition programs for staff. This would make them feel appreciated for their contribution to the organization. Leaders should also pay attention to staff needs and address them as effectively as possible. Motivating staff members makes them feel valued, appreciated, and respected (Van Osch et al., 2018).
Baljoon, R. A., Banjar, H. E., & Banakhar, M. A. (2018). Nurses’ work motivation and the factors affecting it: A scoping review. International Journal of Nursing & Clinical Practices, 5(1), 10-15344. https://doi.org/10.15344/2394-4978/2018/277
Porter-O’Grady, T. & Malloch, K. (2018). Quantum leadership: Creating sustainable value in healthcare (5th ed). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Van Osch, M., Scarborough, K., Crowe, S., Wolff, A. C., & Reimer‐Kirkham, S. (2018). Understanding the factors which promote registered nurses’ intent to stay in emergency and critical care areas. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(5-6), 1209-1215. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.14167