How to Feel More Engaged in Your CRNA Job

From Jackson Physician Search

How engaged are you at work? It’s a metric many employers track among CRNAs; however, “engagement” can be tough to define. Typically, it’s a catchall word encompassing feelings of satisfaction and loyalty toward one’s employer, but it also refers to how connected and stimulated one feels by their work.  

How are Employers Addressing CRNA Engagement?

Burnout, satisfaction, engagement, and retention are frequently discussed together due to the tendency for one to impact the other. Studies show decreased engagement correlates with higher burnout levels, negatively affecting retention. Amid a worsening CRNA shortage, most employers recognize the importance of retaining CRNAs and are prioritizing burnout mitigation programs and implementing strategies to improve job satisfaction and increase engagement. You may see examples of this at your organization in wellness programs, mental health coaching, flex time, CRNA forums, enhanced communication measures, or even additional compensation and paid leave. Many employers are trying to improve work circumstances and create an environment that fosters work-life balance for CRNAs.

5 Steps CRNAs Can Take to Improve Their Own Engagement 

The above may ring true for you, or it may not. Unfortunately, not every employer takes additional steps to improve the CRNA experience. What can these CRNAs do to increase their own engagement at work, improve job satisfaction, and pull themselves out of a career slump? The obvious answer may be to start a new job search, but before officially closing the chapter, consider some of the following strategies.

Raise your Hand

Make connections and get involved to help you feel more engaged. Of course, if you are already feeling overworked and underappreciated, the last thing you may want to do is sign up for a committee or volunteer to be a mentor. Yet, this may be the very thing you need to connect with your peers and remind yourself why you chose the profession.

Speak Up

Another way to feel more involved is to improve communication with your administration or supervisor. CRNAs commonly report two-way communication with management as the top factor contributing to their work satisfaction — even above compensation. Ideally, you already have regular one-on-one meetings with your supervisor, but if not, it’s time to request them. Use these meetings to address issues and propose solutions to improve circumstances. Feeling heard is critical to increasing engagement at work.

Recognize Others 

A job well done deserves recognition, and yet, very few CRNAs report that their employers have formal recognition programs. Do your part by emphasizing the excellent work of your colleagues and being intentional with compliments. Being generous with recognition creates a culture of encouragement and positive reinforcement.

Initiate your Own Development 

If you have leadership goals, don’t hesitate to make this known to your direct supervisor and other leaders in the organization. Seek out training programs and ask for audit discussions where decisions will be made. Identify someone whose career you admire and ask him or her to be your mentor. Create a plan to make the most of your CRNA mentorship and advocate for your own development.

Set Small Goals for Yourself 

Where do you see yourself five or ten years from now? Whether or not you see yourself with the same employer, there are still steps you can take today to help you achieve your goals. Determine what those steps may be and push yourself to move forward. Find a peer to keep you accountable and for whom you can also be a source of encouragement.

Ask for Autonomy

One of the primary causes of CRNA burnout is a lack of autonomy. That is, CRNAs who feel they could make a difference with patients but cannot due to constraints beyond their control are most likely to suffer from burnout. Talk to your administrator about reclaiming autonomy when feeling disengaged at work. While there are no easy answers to this complex issue, starting the conversation is a critical first step.

Of course, in some instances, these strategies won’t be enough to improve CRNA engagement, and it is potentially time to search for a new CRNA job

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From Jackson Physician Search