Health service staff enthusiastic and motivated

Staff in the Irish health services were significantly more enthusiastic, motivated and secure in their jobs than the average Irish worker, according to the 2018 Health Sector National Staff Survey.

The vast majority rated their overall health well, believed their organisation tried to support a healthy lifestyle and were satisfied with the respect with which they were treated by patients/service users.

The majority were happy and satisfied with their jobs and proud to work in their organisation. The majority also felt the care of patients/service users was the top priority in their organisation and if a friend or relative needed treatment/service, they would be happy with the standard of care/service provided in their organisation.

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RCSI Leadership

Staff felt the levels of autonomy and opportunity for skills and ideas had improved over the last two years.

A total of 18,836 staff responded to the survey which was carried out for the HSE by Ipsos MRBI, between September 1 and October 12 this year.

It revealed that over three quarters of staff felt motivated in their current job, 89 per cent said they were trusted to do their job, 70 per cent were enthusiastic about their job and 70 per cent intended to be working in their organisation in two years’ time.

Staff felt the levels of autonomy and opportunity for skills and ideas had improved over the last two years. Seventy-two per cent were satisfied with the level of responsibility they had in their job, sixty-eight per cent said their job gave them a sense of personal fulfilment and 62 per cent were happy with their level of autonomy.

Seventy-one per cent said they felt the care of patients/service users was the top priority in their organisation and 68 per cent said that if a friend or relative needed treatment/service, they would be happy with the standard of care/service provided in their organisation.

Sixty-four per cent were satisfied with their job at the present time and over half were optimistic about their future within their organisation.

Fifty-seven per cent said they would recommend their organisation as an employer to a friend or family member and over half believed advocacy in their organisation had improved and was now in line with the norm.

Eighty-two per cent were satisfied with their job security, 66 per cent were satisfied with the opportunities they had to use their skills and 56 per cent were happy with the opportunity they had to express their own ideas in their job. However, 40 per cent felt they were not involved in decisions which affected them in their work.

Staff’s acceptance of objectives as realistic was ahead of the norm. Fifty six per cent of those who responded understood the relationship between their individual objectives and their organisation’s objectives, 71 per cent had clear planned goals and objectives for their job, 71 per cent felt their personal targets/objectives for their job were realistic and 43 per cent said they had all the equipment, support and resources they required to do their job correctly.

Seventy-one per cent said they felt the care of patients/service users was the top priority in their organisation.

Staff felt more secure in their jobs than other workers., with 82 per cent satisfied with their job security. However, just 37% were satisfied with their pay level, while 59 per cent were satisfied with their right to be represented by their trade union.

Sixty-seven per cent were proud to work for their organiations, 48 per cent valued the culture of their organisation, 62 per cent were satisfied with their workplace atmosphere and 54 per cent with their physical working conditions.

Seventy-eight per cent were satisfied with the support they got from their colleagues, 69 per cent felt team members in their workplace had a set of shared objectives, 66 per cent were satisfied that communication was good within their teams and 64 per cent said they were able to make suggestions to improve the work of their team/department.

Thirty-eight per cent of staff felt valued and recognised by their organisation, 47 per cent were satisfied with the recognition they received for their work performance and 35 per cent were satisfied with the extent to which their organisation valued their work.

Forty-one per cent believed the overall strategy of their organisation was heading in the right direction, 47 per cent endorsed their organisation’s overall strategy but over one third said they did not know enough about their organisation’s strategy and just 34 per cent had confidence in the decisions made by the senior management in their organisation.

While upward communication had improved over the last two years, just 34 per cent thought communication between senior management and staff in their organisation was effective, only 30 per cent believed senior managements in their organisation acted on staff feedback, 38 per cent were satisfied with the opportunities that existed for upward communication in their organisation and a similar percentage were happy with the quality of internal communication in their organisation.

Line management communication had shown some improvement over the last two years, with 59 per cent believing their line manager communicated well with the team, 47 per cent saying their line manager gave them clear feedback on their work, 57 per cent were happy that their line manager actively listened to their ideas and suggestions and 490 percent said their line manger asked for their opinion before making decisions that affected their work.

Sixty per cent were satisfied with the support they got from their line manager, with a similar percentage happy their line manager supported them to improve quality where they worked.

Most staff believed they personally delivered a high quality of service.

The survey showed that managers had got better at motivating and delegating, with 51 per cent of staff happy their line manager motivated them to perform at the highest levels, 57 per cent happy their line manager delegated effectively and 48 per cent saying they had one-to-one meetings with their line manager to discuss their individual objectives and development.

Opportunities for training and progression have improved over the last two years, with 69 per cent saying they knew how to access the training they needed, 61 per cent saying they received the training that helped them to do their job properly and 59 per cent saying their organisation provided them with opportunities to improve their skills.

Forty three per cent felt their line manager took a positive interest in their health and well being and 42 per cent saying their organisation clearly demonstrated its interest in staff health and wellbeing.

Eighty per cent were satisfied with the respect with which they are treated by patients/service users (a 17 per cent increase over the last two years), 76 per cent were happy with the respect with which they were treated by collegues,62 per cent were satisfied with the balance between their private and professional life and 50 per cent with their workload.

Fifty-four per cent felt their stress levels affected their work and 54 per cent felt their stress level sometimes affected their work.

Sixty-seven per cent tended to manage any stress level well, 90 per cent said that at work they always persevered even when things did not go well and 70 per cent were aware of facilities in their workplace that provided support to staff experiencing stress at work.
The vast majority – 87 per cent – were aware of the Dignity at Work Policy for Health Service 2009 and 59 per cent had been trained or briefed on the policy.

The survey showed that staff who said they had been discriminated at work was down over the last two years. However, 20 per cent said they had experienced discrimination at work – 13 per cent reporting discrimination from patients/service users and 13 per cent from colleagues.

Discrimination from service users was most commonly based on gender, 30 per cent, race 25 per cent and age 21 per cent. Discrimination from colleagues was most commonly based on gender, 20 per cent, race 13 per cent and age 15 per cent.

The survey showed that 42 per cent of staff said they had experienced bullying and/or harassment in their organisation in the past two years. Twenty-four per cent said they had experienced bullying and/or harassment from service users and 29 per cent said they had experienced it from colleagues.

Forty-eight per cent of those who responded to the survey said they had witnessed bullying and/or harassment in their organisation in the past two years – 31 per cent said they had witnessed it from service users and 37 per cent said they had witnessed it from colleagues.
Thirty-seven per cent said they had been subject to verbal/physical assault in their organisation in the past two years. Thirty per cent said they had been subject to it from service users and 13 per cent said it was from colleagues.

Thirty-one per cent thought the overall service level in their organisation was improving.
Most staff believed they personally delivered a high quality of service. Eighty-nine per cent felt that their role made a difference to patients/service users and 75 per cent were satisfied with the quality of care they gave to patients/service users.

Eighty-four per cent of staff felt their organisation encouraged staff to report errors, near misses or incidents, 58per cent said their organisation treated staff who were involved in an error, near miss or incident fairly and 49 per cent said that staff were given feedback about changes made in response to reported errors, near misses and incidents.