Setting the practice culture

Practice culture affects every part of the business. A successful team needs to feel valued, supported and encouraged, or morale can suffer; resulting in increased absenteeism, employee turnover and slower productivity. Ultimately, your bottom line will suffer, too.

By its very nature, work in practice will regularly push your team emotionally. Few businesses can genuinely say they make life and death decisions every day. While this is far from being an inherently negative situation, left unchecked it can lead to an unhealthy ‘blame’ culture where the loudest voice dominates and fear of asking questions ends in mistakes being made.

Focusing on the wellness of your team is a great place to start. Encourage physical exercise by introducing a fun, practice running club and the government-backed ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme. The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are also gaining a lot of attention with many coaches offering group sessions in the workplace. Ensure your team knows what support is available for their mental health and insist that there is no such thing as a ‘stupid question’ amongst the team. If your practice is faced with a particularly upsetting situation, it can help to gather everyone for an open and honest session of support.

Creating practice goals with your team can help to bring everyone together and promotes the reward of achievement. How can your current services be made even better? Encourage your team to design nursing clinics, increase areas of client services and employee support systems. Appointing someone in charge of each new area can help to develop leadership skills.

Asking your team what they do and don’t like about the practice culture will not only save a lot of time but will help your team to feel valued. Ultimately, however, as the person in charge, you will have the biggest influence on practice culture by leading by example. Pay attention to both your verbal and non-verbal communication and encourage courtesy. It can be alarming how often we forget to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when we become familiar with people, but polite language is imperative if we are to foster respect.

As leaders, if we are seen to practise positive working relationships, we can set a precedent for a healthy practice culture.