The Five Rights of a Healthy Work Environment, The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 109

Did you know that there are five rights of a healthy work environment for nurses? On this episode of The Nurse Keith Show, we reference a recent blog post and expand upon the five rights that are yours to understand and demand!

Know your five rights!

Here’s how I introduced the concept in the aforementioned blog post: 

Joe Strummer and his punk rock band The Clash once sang that you need to know your rights. Nurses, you indeed need to know your rights and assert them every step of the way.

Do you remember the five rights of medication administration? In case your forgot, they are the right patient, the right medication, the right time, the right dose, and the right route. Well, did you know that there are five rights of a healthcare work environment? (I just made them up, so you I don’t blame you for not having heard of them yet – there will be multiple-choice at the end of this blog post, so be sure to study.)

The five rights of a healthcare work environment as created by yours truly are:

Right practice

Right relationships

Right environment

Right leadership

Right livelihood

Now that we’ve established your five rights, let’s break this five-pack down into its constituent parts, shall we?

And here are the five rights in detail: 

Right practice

Right practice means that you’re able to practice nursing in a way that works for you. Right practice translates as practicing to the fullest extent of your license in a manner that’s personally and professionally satisfying.

In right practice, there is no one trying to strip you of your power, rob you of your authority, undermine you, or otherwise thwart your mission as a nurse and healthcare provider.

Right relationships

Relationships mean a lot when you’re working in a challenging healthcare environment that calls for collaboration and teamwork.

You have a right to work relationships that are healthy, supportive, kind, compassionate, symbiotic, cooperative, and collaborative.

In right relationships, even when there is disagreement, respect holds sway. In right relationship, positive communication remains the behavioral touchstone.

Whether with physicians, maintenance staff, physical therapists, or radiologists, your relationships at work are imbued with respect and collegiality.

Right environment

The third right pertains to your work environment. You have a right to a workplace free of bullying, violence, harassment, intimidation, discrimination, avoidance, authoritarian leadership, disrespect, and other aberrant behaviors that make you feel undervalued, distressed, or unhappy.

In terms of your physical work environment, you have a right to ergonomically conducive work spaces that prevent pain and injury, not cause them. You also have a right to the avoidance of high levels of noise pollution and exposure to chemical agents that can make you sick.

You have a right to sufficient break time, meals, and rest periods. We must also add that you have the right to have access to proper hydration and readily accessible toilet facilities.

Your work environment should be physically and psychologically healthy.

Right leadership

You have the right to be led by leaders who have your best interests at heart. Right leadership is leadership focused on employee engagement and success.

In right leadership, personal and professional growth are valued and encouraged, and leaders take responsibility for providing opportunities for growth.

Right leadership means that a leader never turns a blind eye towards negative behavior like bullying. An enlightened leader works to create an environment where those who break the rules are held accountable, and those who adhere to the rules are valued.

There is no doubt that you have a right to hold your leaders to a high standard of conduct and success.

Right livelihood

Right livelihood means that you are doing what you love to do in an environment that meets your needs (and hopefully exceeds your expectations).

In right livelihood, your workplace is free of violence, bullying is non-existent, leadership is effective, and you feel personally aligned with the mission and the values of your workplace.

When you’re practicing nursing within a state of right livelihood, you feel like you’re in the right place at the right time with the right people. Your right livelihood as a nurse is a key to success and happiness, not to mention your professional satisfaction and overall well-being (physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional).

You have a right to your own right livelihood, and your workplace should have the fulfillment of the right livelihood of its employees as its mission. Every true leader knows that happy, healthy, and satisfied healthcare workers will deliver better care, thus patients will be positively impacted, not to mention the organizational bottom line.

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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCKeith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.

Keith is co-host of, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith was previously the resident nursing career expert at

A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.”

He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and has written for,, MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online platforms.

Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur.

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