An abstract poster presented at HM12 in San Diego called the “Hospitalist Morale Assessment” a validated tool for identifying HM groups’ strengths and weaknesses by quantifying their members’ morale. Morale involves more than just job satisfaction, says Shalini Chandra, MD, MS, a hospitalist at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore and lead author of both the abstract and the assessment instrument.
“We’ve been measuring morale here since 2006. We’ve tried to drill down to what drives hospitalists’ morale. We’ve learned that it is not one-size-fits-all,” Dr. Chandra says.
The tool has gradually been refined to quantify both importance of and contentment with 36 domains of hospitalist morale.
Five hospitals and 93 physicians participated in the 2011 survey. Each hospital received a “morale report” that broke out its results. Overall, survey respondents ranked “family time” as the most important morale factor. “Supportive and effective leadership” was rated as next important.
At Johns Hopkins Bayview, results from the annual surveys have led to the opening of a lactation room to accommodate physicians who are new mothers and to the elimination of mandatory double shifts when staffing is short.
Morale is a critical issue in staff retention and in the prevention of costly and time-consuming recruitment searches to address turnover.
“You can’t expect to have happy patients if you don’t have happy providers who exude an air that suggests to patients, ‘I’m happy to be here and you’re my No. 1 priority,’” Dr. Chandra says. “From my perspective, it is important to address morale as an issue if we’re going to keep growing as hospitalist groups and as a specialty.”
For more information or to join future morale surveys, contact Dr. Chandra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Larry Beresford is a freelance writer in Oakland, Calif.