Healing Healthcare Teams : Vent with Intent

When healthcare teams don’t get along, they need a way to vent, to unpack and share what has frustrated them. Providing this time can be scary for leadership: they don’t want staff going down a rabbit hole of unrestrained complaining.

But, the truth is, if there are complaints, they are always present. By providing a structured, confidential space to share complaints, leaders can validate, leverage and put a boundary on them.

Our work has shown an immediate benefit to venting: teams of doctors, nurses and administrators actually work better together after initial venting sessions, because they have finally had a release valve for their frustrations.

Venting also yields something even more powerful: individual and team values.

When doctors, nurses and administrators complain about one other, they’re telling us what they value, in people and workplace relationships.  Some top values include respect, timeliness, trustworthiness, and collaborative decision making.

The venting process gives each group a chance to see and share their values. And, you won’t be surprised to know that many of them overlap across healthcare teams.  Sharing values becomes a turning point in team relationships, and serves as a foundation for building respect, collaboration and results.    

What do you think are the benefits of venting?   And, how do you think values and venting are connected? 

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