Team-Building Activities for Healthcare Workers

Team-Building Activities for Healthcare Workers

Team building activities are a great way for healthcare organizations to instill a sense of camaraderie and combat burnout. Discover 10 ways you can bring your healthcare team together.

Team-Building Activities for Healthcare Workers

Your healthcare workers put in long hours of hard work to care for patients, improving their health and healing their illnesses at some of the most stressful times of their lives. But in such a giving profession, it’s all too easy to get burned out. No wonder 46% of health workers reported often feeling burned out in 2022.

The answer to this issue is multi-faceted, but one thing that can help is building stronger bonds between team members and giving your healthcare professionals time to relax. And a very effective way to tackle both of these tasks is with thoughtful, fun team-building exercises.

That’s why we created this guide with the 10 best team-building activities for healthcare workers. Adding in one or more of these to your upcoming events will help you build a great team and ensure they’re restored and refreshed even during difficult times.

Why Team-Building Exercises are Important

Team-building events are an excellent way to improve your company culture and boost employee morale. They bring people together, within and across teams and departments and roles, to have fun, relax, or work towards a common goal.

Creating these connections intentionally means that your healthcare workers will be surrounded by people they know on a deeper level, who will support them on good days and bad ones. These bonds are invaluable, and team-building events are a very effective way to build them.

How to Make Team-Building Activities Effective

However, to get the maximum benefits, these activities can’t just be thrown together without a strategy. The most effective team-building activities have several elements in common:

  • They are created with a goal in mind, a clear “why” behind the activity, that ensures the entire team is aligned.
  • They address a specific issue, like alleviating burnout, improving difficult team dynamics, building trust, or improving communication issues.
  • They are inclusive and welcoming, and are an activity that everyone on the team feels comfortable with and can participate in.

With these pieces of the plan in mind, you can create a fun and effective activity that everyone will benefit from. Here are our favorite team building ideas for your healthcare team.

The Best Team-Building Activities for Healthcare Workers

1. Icebreakers

Let’s start small: a well-placed icebreaker can go a long way toward helping your people get to know each other. You can add these into your existing meetings, especially if you’ve recently welcomed new employees on the team, so you can jump right into getting that good team bonding.

Classics include “Two Truths and a Lie,” where each participant lists three things about themselves, one false, and everyone else guesses which one is the lie. “Roses and Thorns” is also powerful and short, where each team member shares one positive and one negative part of their lives. The internet is full of fun icebreaker ideas too if you need further inspiration, and don’t be afraid to create your own too!

2. Scavenger Hunts

Nothing says team bonding like a competitive escapade. Scavenger hunts are a great option because you can hold them indoors (although they’re more fun outside) and they offer a chance for teamwork to increase bonds and trust and communication among your employees. They do require a fair bit of organization and planning, but they’re a classic team-building exercise for a reason.

Team building games are more than just fun, they’re an effective way to engage healthcare workers outside of shop talk.

3. Escape Rooms

Another activity that boosts camaraderie and improves communication and problem-solving skills is escape rooms. If you haven’t been to one before, these are team challenges where everyone must work together to break out of a room. They’re fun, popular, and there are spaces for them in most major cities these days. And these can be a great option for remote or geographically separated teams too, as there are virtual escape room experiences that everyone can participate in.

4. Art Workshops

If you’re looking for something a little more sedate and calm, holding an art workshop like a paint ‘n sip or learn to draw class is a fun way to improve team morale. It’s a relaxing way to learn new skills and connect with co-workers, and can be good for reducing burnout as it gets employees out of the mindset of caring for others so they can focus on themselves for a little bit.

5. Office Trivia

Holding an office trivia afternoon or session is a popular way to get teams together and provide some much-needed bonding. It’s especially great if your healthcare workers have a competitive side. And you can mix up the teams so that people have a chance to work with those they don’t already know that well, like mixing up doctors, nurses, and staff into each team so those cross-team bonds grow.

For remote teams, office trivia can easily be held online. And this is an easy team-boosting activity to make into a regular event as well, if it proves popular. Then you can get all the rewards of this practice every time you host it, with minimal planning.  

6. Medical Charades

Sometimes it’s most beneficial for healthcare workers to take a break from the healthcare world, but it can also be fun to include team-building games that celebrate the medical world. Medical charades is a great option to bring everyone together over some shared silliness as well as medical knowledge.

How it works: each team member writes down a medical-themed word or phrase, like “needle”, “IV”, “cough”, “blood pressure”, “eye exam”, “code blue”, or “MRI” on a little piece of paper. Divide everyone into two teams, and everyone takes turns acting out each phrase while the other team guesses. This one can break down some unpleasant team dynamics as everyone gets into the fun and competitive spirit.

7. Team Outings

While your healthcare workers probably love their work and your organization, sometimes heading outside of it for a while can provide a much-needed restorative break from the work environment.

Team outings are an excellent way for in-person teams to improve their well-being and have some fun that’s not related to work — think of it like a field trip for adults to get into the spirit. You can plan a simple coffee break somewhere outside, an elaborate dinner, an activity in your community, or anything else you can think of that your team would enjoy. In fact, a fancier outing can also double as an incentive or a thanks for their hard work.

Some of these team-building activities can be turned into a team outing, like holding an art workshop at a local art museum or visiting a nearby escape room. And if time and budget allow, you can extend these ideas with a lunch or ice cream break while you’re out to increase the sense of escape and relaxation and bonding with co-workers.

8. Bake-Offs

Who doesn’t love a bake-off? Baking is a great way to bond and relax over a non-work task — just divide your team members into smaller groups and task them with creating the best version of a specific baked good that they can.

This activity provides plenty of fun (and some delicious end results too), but it also improves communication skills between team members as they tackle creating their delicacies within a time limit. Plus, for the non-bakers in your team, they have a chance to learn some new skills from the experienced chefs.

Team bonding is so important to instill a sense of connection and purpose to work. One of the events healthcare teams love is a potluck or bake-off, where they can show off their culinary skills.

9. Board Games

Board games are a great ice-breaker and bond-builder, especially for small groups. Plus, they’re simple to organize and fit into even small budgets. You can offer a range of board games and set aside an hour or two in the workday for everyone to join, and can make it more special by offering snacks and drinks for a lovely little pause. You can even offer jigsaw puzzles for teams to solve, which is a great bonding experience.

10. Volunteering Day

Healthcare professionals are a naturally caring and giving group, so offering them the chance to give back to your community even more with a volunteering outing or day can be very rewarding. Also, it offers the opportunity for people from different teams to meet and work together towards a common goal.

You can look into local charities and initiatives to see what would be a good fit for your employees: it could be related to the medical field or not, as giving back in a different way might be even more satisfying.

The Best Team-Building Methods

Building a stronger, more engaged team of healthcare workers makes life better for everyone: your workers, their patients, and your organization. And you can have a lot of fun doing it too! It’s a win-win, especially with some thoughtful planning.

If you’re looking for more ways to increase engagement and retention for your valued healthcare professionals, Cooleaf can help.


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