The Importance of Emotional Connection for Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare professionals want to take care of their patients. It is a lot harder these days, as some would say impossible, to care for the never-ending train of patients coupled with significant resignations and shortages of skilled staff. Helplessness, anxiety, and fear permeate the lives of our healthcare professionals. They serve in unfamiliar roles as a family to dying patients, as punching bags for angry family members, or as triage arbiters, making life and death decisions because the hospital is too full.

The social, structural, political, and organizational dimensions of the current crisis are beyond the reach of most of us. But, as a team leader, caregiver, or administrator, you want to do something to heal the personal wounds developing and propagating every day. You want to bring back hope, trust, and positive energy to your work environment, and we want to help you with that.

Stressful environments impact our emotional wellbeing. These lead to disconnected and disengaged teams and managers, compounding work-related stress, leaving people isolated from their peers and fearful of their resilience.

Emotional Balance

Humans are emotional beings triggered by the fear of losing connections with those we care about and depend on. During times of stress, our attachment needs drive us to make emotionally based decisions that can widen the gulf between us, our peers, and our patients.

Emotional balance is the ability to understand our own emotions and be present for the emotions of others in a manner that is accessible and responsive – helping to deescalate our internal angst and external conflicts. Emotionally balanced leaders are capable of supporting their peers and employees to navigate through extreme stress and uncertainty by simply focusing on their basic attachment needs.

We need to feel valued, we need to be heard, and we need to feel that we matter to the people we work with and depend on. 

Here are three ways in which you can address attachment needs, restore your emotional balance, and help others do the same:

  1. As often as you can, take the time for every person on the team to say to each other the following statements
      1. You are important to me.
      2. I care about you.
      3. You matter.
  2. Use the same statements with your patients, as their recognition of your needs and your recognition of their state helps restore the connection.
  3. Recognize that at the heart of every conflict or disconnection lies a negative cycle of interaction, which with training and reframing, you can stop.

Healthcare professionals, we have surveyed note the following as the most significant challenges to maintaining their emotional connection and balance:

  • Handling difficult conversations
  • Dealing with continuous trauma
  • Burnout and fatigue
  • Lack of trust with colleagues and administration
  • Energizing team members
  • Loss of empathy
  • Rifts between families and staff

Create a Culture of Emotional Connection

Healthcare leaders can support their teams with tools and insight to overcome inevitable emotional disconnections. Reinforcing emotional connection with your teams fosters trust, engagement, and a sense of security. It is essential to establish positive work environments to overcome fears of confrontation, learn to lean on each other, and feel confident – all of that contributes to creating a workplace culture where people can do their best work.

Outcomes from an emotional connection program are clear. Over 50 years of scientific research serves as a foundation focusing on attachment theory, building a positive and nurturing environment, helping people overcome adversity. The EmC Strategy:

  • Increases productivity and gains trust
  • Improves employee engagement and increases group support
  • Empowers teams with confidence to share vulnerability
  • Creates a culture that values emotional balance and strong relationships

Schedule a free consultation to identify where improvement opportunities can be found and prioritize a supportive emotional connection culture.

Get expert guidance to drive direct impact to your organizational culture with our new Leading to Thriving: Emotional Connection Competencies virtual course.