HomeSudbury News

Communication lacking at HSN, survey reveals

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Mar 13, 2013 - 11:22 AM |
Health Sciences North will be holding focus groups with its front-line staff this spring and summer to find out how it can improve their work life. File photo.

Health Sciences North will be holding focus groups with its front-line staff this spring and summer to find out how it can improve their work life. File photo.

A senior manager at Health Sciences North says a survey of the hospital's staff found about 30 per cent of the workers feel the hospital is not a good place to work, but nearly 90 per cent feel the care they deliver is top-notch.


About 1,800 of the hospital's 3,900 employees, or 47 per cent, responded to the online survey, which was conducted last year. Accreditation Canada and the Excellent Care for All Act require hospitals to conduct regular staff surveys.

The survey shows that just 32 per cent of hospital staff say senior management acts on staff feedback and just 48 per cent say senior management effectively communicates the organization's goals.

The hospital has been trying to remedy the situation since 2008 through newsletters, the website and town hall meetings with staff, but nothing seems to have been that effective, said Joe Pilon, the hospital's senior vice-president.


“It doesn't seem to have made any significant improvement in the communication,” he said.

Health Sciences North now plans to hold a series of staff focus groups this spring and summer to find out how it can improve communication between front-line staff and administration, as well as other aspects of employees' work life.

“We need to engage the staff whose quality of work life we're concerned about in coming up with the solutions,” Pilon said.

The hospital will use the results of the focus groups to make improvements to employees' work life. Staff will be surveyed again in September 2014 to see if the changes have made any difference in the results.

Pilon said the result which disappointed him the fact that 30 per cent of the hospital's employees rated Health Sciences North as “fair” or “poor” when asked if it's a good place to work.

The other 70 per cent said it was good, very good or excellent.

He said when he gets a result like that, he wants to understand why. “I think the focus groups will be the only way to get that information. We hope people will be candid.”

On the positive side, 89 per cent of those surveyed said they understand what's expected of them in their job.

As well, 89 per cent said they'd recommend the organization to family and friends who need care, and 88 per cent said their unit provides top-quality patient care.

After the city's hospital services were consolidated onto one site in 2010, the score for employees understanding what was expected of them had dropped, Pilon said.

“We moved from our nice little Memorial site or St. Joe's site to a million square foot facility that had an emerg department on the same site as the critical care and as the OR,” he said.

“All the work processes that used to be in place changed. When we looked at the 2011 results, we could see people weren't sure about their role clarity and what their responsibilities were.”

The hospital then focused on employees' “role clarity,” something which has obviously been a success, as this is now one of the highest-ranked aspect of hospital work life.

Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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