Nurses- That Nasty Break Room Fridge is Affecting Your Job Performance

The break room fridge in the emergency department where I work is hands-down disgusting. It is so gross that one nurse in our department’s punishment for her teenage son who was caught smoking weed was to accompany her to work one day to clean said fridge. He has not lit a joint since. I won’t even get started on the ED bathroom- my stomach can’t handle it.

While putrid fridge contents do provide an excellent punitive outlet for unruly teens, one nursing organization says an unkempt work environment is likely also affecting your job performance and in turn patient care.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation conducted a study finding that nurses’ physical work environment, including architecture, interior design, and other physical aspects of the hospital environment enhances job satisfaction. Job satisfaction among nurses is a known predictor of patient satisfaction and patient outcomes. In the study, nurses who gave their physical work environment higher ratings were also more likely to report good relationships with physicians, better teamwork, and a balanced workload.

While the study didn’t directly address the common problem of the unsightly break room fridge directly, researchers did look at the effect of design features like crowdedness, ventilation, lighting, furniture arrangement, colors, decorations, aesthetic appearance, and the need for remodeling.

How does your hospital or clinic measure-up when it comes to appearance? Do you feel this affects your job performance and/or satisfaction?


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