Well-Being in the Workplace is a Team Effort

One thing we have learned over the past few years is that as we strive to deliver exceptional care to our patients, we somehow forget to pay attention to our own well-being. And fortunately, we are ushering in a new era where organizations are creating a clearer vision for wellness, rejuvenation, and fulfillment in the workplace.

However, we often see health and wellness as an individual responsibility. The reality is that wellness is heavily influenced by how we interact with the people around us.

This requires shifting wellness from an individual clinician’s responsibility to an organization-wide effort that motivates teams to cultivate a work environment that values rest and restoration. After all, we are all in this together. We need to collectively make an effort to prioritize nurse well-being as we face wave after wave of unprecedented challenges.

Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you encourage your team to pay attention to their well-being:

  • Encourage restoration on days off. You can ask your teammate, “What are you going to do tomorrow? It’s your day off, right?” And then when your teammate returns, you can ask, “How was the activity that you planned? Was it fun?” These seemingly small conversations can have a big impact on reminding each other to be mindful and that rest is encouraged and necessary.
  • Be mindful of time. When I was the CEO of the American Nurses Association, I used to set an alarm for 15 minutes before the end of the day. When that alarm went off, I would walk the hall to remind everyone that it was the end of the day, that we had a few minutes to finish up our to-do list, and that I was going to get ready to leave. Now, not everyone walked out the door at that time, but it was a way of changing the culture so that we didn’t make staying past your shift a norm.
  • Share in taking breaks. Make it a commitment that everyone will get a lunch break in a day, however crazy the day might be. Set the intention and then find ways to help each other get the breaks that they need. We can support each other in actions: doing a task for them, so that they can get away, or we can support each other with our encouragement, gently reminding each other that breaks are necessary for our own well-being.


Yes, we can all work on our own health and wellness, but isn’t it much more powerful when we do it together? Our health and well-being are strengthened when we receive encouragement, support, and reminders to make well-being a priority. When we collectively agree to be a workplace that values well-being, we cultivate a culture that enables our people to thrive.

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