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Unleashing the Healing Power of Creativity: Promoting Mental Health Among Nurses Through Innovation

Updated: Dec 8, 2023


The role of creativity in promoting mental health among nurses


For many years the evolution of new and creative ideas within the healthcare system has been pretty much nonexistent. However, this all changed as COVID-19 meant that routines and practices needed to be adapted quickly to accommodate the increased numbers of sick people entering hospitals due to the virus. Nurses and doctors came up with creative innovations, sometimes on a daily basis, to help develop patient care, supply chain management, and vaccine distribution.


The healthcare system was put under unprecedented strain because of the pandemic, and medical professionals were required to work long hours, frequently without rest periods or days off. Many nurses experienced high levels of stress, anxiety, and burnout as a direct result of this.


But studies suggest that when you use your imagination, you may relieve stress and improve your mental health. This is especially crucial for nurses working in intensive care units or other high-pressure settings where they regularly encounter truly life-or-death circumstances.


Healthcare companies can aid in fostering positive mental health and avoiding burnout by encouraging and supporting nurses' participation in artistic pursuits. This may take the shape of artistic, musical, or literary endeavours that nurses can pursue in their spare time. These pursuits allow nurses to release pent-up emotions and provide much-needed relief from the stress that can come with the work.


Creativity can also boost the critical thinking and problem-solving abilities that nurses and doctors rely on daily. When nurses are encouraged to think outside the box, they are more likely to come up with original answers to difficult challenges, which in turn leads to better patient outcomes and higher quality care.



The importance of nurses' ability to be creative in improving their own mental health cannot be emphasised. Health care facilities can aid in reducing nurse burnout by encouraging and supporting artistic endeavours. There will be less stress in the workplace and better results for patients as a result.



What lessons were Learnt?

Some key lessons have been learned about adapting all areas of care from the pandemic, many of which are now common practice in hospitals and doctor offices around the world.


As a result of the widespread spread of the COVID-19 virus, healthcare professionals have had to reevaluate their approaches to patient treatment. The healthcare system adapted rapidly due to the implementation of novel and innovative solutions. The significance of technology in healthcare was a key takeaway. The widespread adoption of telemedicine and other digital tools has improved patients' ease of access to and satisfaction with their treatment.


As a result of the pandemic, doctors and nurses learned how crucial it is to work together. To solve these difficult difficulties, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals collaborated, and this trend is expected to continue.


The necessity of self-care for healthcare providers was another major takeaway from the epidemic. Many hospitals established initiatives to help nurses deal with the mental and emotional stress they experienced while working during the pandemic. It may be beneficial to nurses' mental health to encourage them to pursue artistic pursuits like music, writing, and painting.


The healthcare profession has been forced to adapt to the pandemic's numerous new problems, but it has also learned valuable lessons and seen some beneficial advances as a result. We have made great strides towards a more resilient healthcare system that can respond effectively to future crises while also fostering a culture of innovation and patient-centered care.




The workforce is a readymade source of creative ideas

During the first wave of the pandemic, nurses re-purposed respirators, baby monitors, and hairdryers to combat issues in the supply chains for PPE and critical patient machinery. As vaccine programs began, commercial buildings offered spaces to set up vaccine centers in the community.


These are just a few instances in which the ingenuity and inventiveness of healthcare professionals were put to good use to address urgent issues. As the pandemic has demonstrated, the workforce is a wellspring of original thought. Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers are frequently on the front lines, dealing with critical situations that necessitate rapid thinking and innovative problem solving. Their ability to successfully innovate and adapt shows that they can play increasingly central roles in the generation of novel ideas and approaches.



Increased job satisfaction and engagement are two additional benefits of encouraging creativity and innovation among nurses and other healthcare employees. Employees are less likely to experience burnout and more likely to feel happy in their work when provided with opportunities to use their talents and expertise to improve patient care and the healthcare system as a whole.


It is essential for healthcare firms to foster an innovative culture that recognises and compensates employees for their contributions. This can be done in a number of ways, such as by encouraging regular brainstorming meetings, recognising and awarding innovative approaches, and funding ongoing training.


The epidemic has shown us that healthcare professionals can be a great well of new ideas and solutions. When we back people up when they come up with ideas to better care for patients, we all benefit.




Creativity and standardization can work together

Before COVID-19, adapting procedures was frowned-upon in the effort to seek continuity in patient care. The pandemic showed that with creativity in patient care, new procedures and better ways of working could be invented and standardised as best care methods.

A great example of this is the development of clear surgical masks to facilitate lip-reading and inclusivity.


Innovation and conformity are not mutually exclusive. In the past, before COVID-19, it was considered unprofessional to make changes to established practises in an attempt to maintain continuity of care for individual patients. Creative problem-solving in the field of patient care was on display throughout the pandemic, demonstrating the viability of novel approaches that could be adopted as industry standards.



Implementation of ideas can be fast and effective

Previously it could take over 15 years for new ideas to become routine practices. Telemedicine is one example of this, as uptake for this service was slow prior to the pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, use of the service rose by 150% as people struggled to see doctors face-to-face.


What methods may be implemented to foster an environment where originality flourishes?

The mental health of healthcare workers has been shown to improve when they are encouraged by employers and policymakers to offer novel solutions to problems. It has been proven that even employees with a negative attitude regarding their jobs can offer suggestions for improving patient care and routines.



Creating an environment where innovation is valued and celebrated is the first step in encouraging creative thinking on the job. It is crucial to provide medical staff a voice in policymaking and decision-making that directly impacts patient care. Having regular brainstorming meetings, holding innovation competitions, and working with experts from other fields can all help with this.


Furthermore, leaders should stress the need of taking risks and adopting innovative approaches in order to improve patient care. Staff in the healthcare industry should feel safe enough to experiment with new approaches, even if they fail. The ability to think critically and creatively is essential in the healthcare industry, and may be fostered by providing personnel with resources and training in these areas.



How can creativity be encouraged in the workplace?

Being supported to make these creative ideas and suggestions by employers and policymakers has proven to improve healthcare workers' mental health and well-being. Even staff members who are feeling negatively towards their job have been shown to provide suggestions to make positive changes to patient care and routines.


How can this be achieved?

  • Invite Creativity- Employers need to invite workers to share their creative ideas for change and the development of outdated routines and procedures. This can be achieved by taking part in team huddles with popular suggestions being escalated to management for consideration.

  • Creativity and standardisation- developing plan-do-study-act cycles show staff that their creative ideas are valued and tested in real-world situations. This means that successful new methods can be integrated quickly into normal routines.

  • Reward creativity- Employers should reward creativity with staff recognition of new procedures that are taken up, as well as providing evidence-based reports on the impact of the changes on efficiency and patient care.


 


The success of creativity from nurses and the impact it has shown on their mental health when feeling valued in the workplace. It is hoped that now the world has returned to normal post-COVID that, nurses can continue to bring new ideas and suggestions for improving healthcare in general. After all, nurses are the frontline workers that often know the most about how every cog in the machine works.


The importance of creativity in promoting mental health in nurses cannot be overstated. Nursing is a demanding profession that can result in high levels of stress and burnout. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of creativity in developing innovative solutions to the healthcare system's unprecedented challenges.



During the pandemic, nurses and other healthcare workers had to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, such as a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), overcrowded hospitals, and the need to implement new patient-care procedures. They demonstrated incredible creativity and resilience in devising new and innovative ways to deliver healthcare while keeping themselves and their patients safe.



One of the most important lessons from the pandemic is that creativity is critical to the success of any healthcare system. It is a valuable resource that can be used to develop innovative solutions to complex problems, improve patient outcomes, and promote nurses' and other healthcare workers' mental health and well-being.


It is therefore essential to encourage creativity in the workplace. Nurses must believe that their ideas are valued and that their employers and policymakers support them. This can be accomplished by fostering a culture of creativity and innovation in which nurses are encouraged to share their ideas and suggestions for improving patient care and routines.



The success of creative solutions during the pandemic has highlighted the need for a more flexible approach to healthcare, in which standardisation and creativity can collaborate to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients. Employers should recognise creativity and provide evidence-based reports on the impact of changes on efficiency and patient care.



Finally, creativity is an important aspect of the nursing profession. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how nurses can use their creativity and innovation to develop new and improved methods of providing healthcare, even under the most difficult of conditions. Encouraging creativity in the workplace is critical for nurses' mental health and well-being, as well as the overall development of the healthcare system.



 

Reflection

  1. Did you contribute any creative ideas for change during the pandemic?

  2. Were your ideas listened to and actioned?

  3. What do you think has been the best creative change to come out of the pandemic?

  4. Have you ever contributed an innovative idea for change in your workplace, and if so, how was it received?

  5. Do you think the use of telemedicine will continue to rise even after the pandemic?

  6. What do you think was the most significant creative change to come out of the pandemic in healthcare?


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