Productivity High on Mental Wellness Nurses Agenda

There’s a popular saying that goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” When a cup is empty, no amount of work or wishing could produce a drop out of it. In the very same way, as individuals, when we push ourselves beyond our limits (emptying our physical and mental reserves) and more is required of us, we are then unable to produce in a manner that is efficient.

The notion of productivity is steeped in the ideals of efficiency, continuous improvement and excellence. The Business Dictionary defines productivity as the “measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system, etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs.”

In a field like nursing, where the work never ends, achieving maximum productivity is a difficult feat. A normal/typical day does not exist in the life of a nurse. The nurses of the Rehabilitation Unit #3 of the St. Lucia National Mental Wellness Centre provide mental health care services to the patients on the unit. The delicate nature of their work means that the nurses are constantly on the go.

Nurses resolve to look after themselves in order to maintain high standards when caring for patients.

Nurses resolve to look after themselves in order to maintain high standards when caring for patients.

The team of nurses who service the unit came to the stark realisation that continuing in the current fashion would do more harm than good to their overall job efficiency. It was with this in mind that on June 24th the nurses broke away from their usual work setting and decided to invest in their own self-care and development.

A teambuilding retreat, observed under the theme ‘Celebrating Our Achievements, Striving to Give our Best’, opened with a debriefing session facilitated by Mr. Martin Weekes, a training and management consultant professional. During this session, the nurses had the opportunity to examine where they were at professionally and personally and where they would like to see themselves advance and the required actions to needed for their advancement.

The highlight of the day, however, was a presentation on “Productivity in the Workplace” by Mrs. Fiona Hinkson, Executive Director of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC). “You cannot pre-empt how any given day is going to unfold or the number of patients that you may have to care for. However, there is so much that you can do to take care of your own personal well-being and ensure that your needs are met,” Mrs. Hinkson stated.

The presentation sought to give the nurses an overall understanding of what productivity is, the existing productivity climate but more so as it pertained to the health sector, the importance of productivity and ways to improve it.

The NCPC is concerned that productivity continues to be a major impediment to organisational efficiency, growth and development. More often than not, a lack of understanding of the part that each individual has to play in improving productivity is what creates barriers. The NCPC advocates that as we pursue productivity on a national level, we must continue to challenge current mindsets and highlight the need for continued efforts at attaining excellence.

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