In medicine, we have normalised our medical staff staying late after their shift ends.
We all support the general idea of people leaving on time, but the reality is different. Yet, our nursing colleagues do this so well.
Here are some reasons why we stay late:
- A sense of ‘duty’ to our colleagues (and patients)
- A list of admin tasks that have still to be completed
- Anxiety that we have forgotten something
Staying late doesn’t benefit your colleagues, your patients, or yourself.
Staying late has a knock on effect on your performance the next day.
When you stay late to ‘try to help’ you are usually less effective. You work more slowly because you’ve been on shift for so long. And you don’t fully allow the next team to take over. Often you distract them from doing tasks, and you are subtly showing that you don’t fully trust them to take over.
Leaving on time increases your productivity, fosters trust, and leads to a happier workforce.
It’s up to you to stop talking about it and actually lead the change.
Make it a priority to get all junior staff home on time on your next shift.
It’s easy to forget to do this as you get tied up in a busy department. By doing this your juniors will be happier, better rested, and know that you care about their wellbeing. You will feel good and be a better leader.
It’s time to change the culture of healthcare so we can all sustain long, happy, fulfilled careers in medicine.
The change needs to start with you.
You have to encourage your teams to document contemporaneously, to wind up their tasks in time for the end of the shift, and to trust their colleagues to take over care.
All our staff are under huge pressure. Something has to change. This is one small, practical change that you can be responsible for leading. On your next shift, make it your mission to get everyone home on time.