Stressing Employee Sleep and How It Can Impact Your Practice, Hospital, and Overall Productivity

June 7, 2018
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The healthcare industry is full of people that are surviving their fatigue simply by supplementing with large amounts of caffeine. It is not rare to hear someone talking about how tired they are or how the schedule has impacted their sleep patterns negatively. Tired employees can come with a myriad of issues as some people are totally different people with the right amount of sleep compared to being sleep deprived. Stressing sleep as an employer can be difficult as you cannot control what people do in their free time. There are things that you can be done that are mentioned below to help set your employees up for success on the sleep front. The following are ways that sleep can impact a practice, hospital, and overall productivity of healthcare workers.

Rested Employees Treat Patients Better in Office

Having a tired receptionist deal with patients can actually lead to a long time patient finding another primary care physician. If your practice is open daily it is important to have certain positions backed up with other employees. The receptionist can only work 40 hours a week without going into overtime so having a replacement for off or sick days is important. Stress while tired can be avoided in the office by scheduling a realistic amount of appointments in a day. The doctor rarely takes the abuse of people who have been in the waiting room for hours passed their appointment time. The staff takes this abuse and a tired staff could treat a patient in an unfriendly manner. If you have had a tiring and stressful week avoid adding a few extra appointments that you might usually try to squeeze in on other weeks.

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In The Case of The Hospital

Most people do not realize that there are people that sleep at the hospital multiple times per week. The hospital is full of tired and sick people which include the patients and even the staff. Mistakes can cost someone their life so keep the staff as well-rested is important. The staff sleeping area in the hospital that is usually reserved for residents or others on call should have the highest quality mattresses. This is a small investment that could make a huge difference as avoiding one mistake could save the hospital money on a lawsuit filed due to a mistake. The hospital administrator needs to look up mattress reviews to ensure patients are treated by doctors that at their best.

Tired People Make More Mistakes

The mistakes that are made on paperwork or diagnoses can be due to lack of sleep. Lack of sleep is linked with poor judgment and this can be a deadly combination for a staff member that has to make a life or death decision. Mistakes on paperwork can lead to a patient receiving the wrong dose of medicine or being given too much medicine if a note hasn’t been left stating the medication has been given at a certain time. The medical field is not the niche where mistakes are taken lightly.

Quality Productivity Is Essential and Will Increase

Productivity in the healthcare industry also means the work is done with quality. Other industries allow for mediocre work to be done as long as the work is complete. This is much different when dealing with the well-being of a patient. Appropriate amounts of sleep have been shown to increase productivity as well as accuracy when completing assessments. In many cases a doctor has to make an assessment almost on the spot after visiting a patient and taking a look at their charts/history. Even things like the transcription of doctor’s notes need to be as accurate as possible even though this can be the hardest job in the healthcare industry due to the handwriting of a large number of doctors.

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Sleep is important when trying to do the best job possible so we in the healthcare industry need to implement policies and strategies in line with what we know. Do not sacrifice the care of a patient simply because you couldn’t get yourself to bed at the right time or work scheduled you in a way to set you up for failure in regards to sleep.