Gratitude: The Emotion that Boosts Resilience and Safety in Healthcare Teams

As healthcare administrators, we understand the importance of optimal teamwork to avoid harm and improve patient outcomes, especially during unexpected situations. Our teams need to be resilient, and that requires self-control and positive social behaviors like cooperation and social support. But did you know that gratitude is a powerful emotion that can reinforce everyone’s connections and self-control, thereby enhancing the team’s resilience and safety?

Unlike cognitive mechanisms such as willpower, executive control, and habit formation, emotions like gratitude diffuse into the world and influence our behavior toward others. Feeling and expressing gratitude not only alters our emotional status but also enhances the wellbeing of those around us. It can significantly alter the emotional status of those around us, making them more supportive, conscientious, and diligent while also lowering their level of stress.

Research has shown that having a grateful disposition, being thankful for the things that we take for granted in our lives, can be immensely useful. This behavior feels good and is good for us in an evolutionary sense. It can lower anxiety, enhance our wellbeing, and even benefit our physical health. For example, a grateful person has a lower blood pressure, smaller spikes of blood pressure under stress, higher HDL, lower LDL, and more optimism.

Moreover, gratitude can be self-perpetuating, meaning it tends to bring happiness and satisfaction. A welcoming and principled co-worker can bring out the best in not just themselves but also in the team. Having more employees with these qualities can lower stress and increase the happiness of workers while raising the bottom line.

However, an organization lacking this emotion can lead to poorer performance, lower engagement, decreased satisfaction, more exhaustion, and greater absenteeism. For instance, a study showed that employees in long-term care facilities working in units with low companionate love showed these negative outcomes.

As healthcare administrators, we can cultivate gratitude among our teams. One way is to focus on someone who helped us, appreciate their efforts and support. We can also count our blessings, keep a gratitude journal, and reflect upon recent incidents for which we were grateful, even small acts of kindness. Writing them down can benefit our body, like exercising more, having fewer illnesses, and greater feelings of wellbeing.

Cultivating gratitude is essential for healthcare teams’ resilience and safety. It can spread within teams, reinforcing positive social behaviors and enhancing everyone’s wellbeing and achievement. So, let’s practice gratitude and spread positivity to increase happiness and satisfaction for everyone in our healthcare organizations.

When you’re ready to learn more about how you can foster gratitude and resilience in your healthcare organization, I encourage you to reach out for a strategy session. With her extensive experience in coaching and organizational development, she can provide valuable insights and guidance to help you build a more positive and effective workplace culture.

Click here to schedule a strategy session. I look forward to helping you create a more resilient, supportive, and successful healthcare organization!