Bringing Back Field Day: An Innovative Approach to Cultivating Healthy Work Environments

Friday, 17 March 2017: 2:45 PM

Sara K. Kaylor, EdD
The Capstone College of Nursing, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
Paige Johnson, PhD
Capstone College of Nursing, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

A positive workplace culture is perhaps one of the most dynamic factors thought to be integral to an organization’s success, as it has potential to significantly boost employee commitment, engagement, and job satisfaction (Burchell & Robin, 2011). One aspect that plays into the health of organizational culture is “social capital,” which refers to the thought that social networking and interpersonal relationships create value and resources for individuals and organizations (DiCicco-Bloom et al., 2007; Read, 2013). Formulated by American education scholar L. J. Hanifan (1916), “social capital” is defined as “goodwill, fellowship, mutual sympathy and social intercourse among a group of individuals and families who make up a social unit” (p. 130). He proposed that placing time and attention towards investing in social capital by getting people to socialize and work together made life worthwhile to people in their everyday lives (Hanifan, 1916; Read, 2013). Subsequent classical work on the concept of social capital adds that it has capacity to boost productivity outcomes that may otherwise be unachievable (Coleman, 1988); in nursing, this relates to stronger outcomes for nurses, patients and health care organizations through improved communication, teamwork, staff retention, and patient safety (Read, 2013). If positive working relationships contribute so strongly to thriving, professional environments, perhaps then leaders of change in academia and health care can foster positive, healthy workplace environments through intentional activities directed towards investment in their organization’s social capital.

The purpose of this presentation is to summarize how the implementation of a “Faculty-Staff Field Day” event was used as an innovative approach to cultivating a healthy academic-based work environment. A brief discussion on the planning, implementation, and feedback evaluation of the Field Day event will be offered, as well as “tried-and-true” recommendations for future implementation. Specific activities used for this event will also be shared, as they were intentionally planned to promote physical activity, an increased sense of community, and enhanced collegial relationships among faculty and staff participants.