Sep 27, 2021 | Faces of HDGH
Each month, byways of my Field Notes Blog, I have the ability to tell stories. I can share information with you all, the events and happenings of our hospital, our patients, staff, and all the healing that takes place inside and outside of our HDGH walls. I can share with you my learnings over 30 years spent in my career and the lessons taught by the many talented, wise, and inspiring individuals I am fortunate enough to interact with each day. There is power in sharing these stories, especially those often unheard or difficult. Our stories have the ability to soothe or spur us to action, grab our hearts and minds and see more clearly the dotted lines that connect us all.I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last while. I’ve thought “what is my story?” There are many. Particularly since the beginning of this pandemic I have shared some of them with you - my experiences as a healthcare CEO during what has been one of the most challenging times in the history of this sector but also as a woman, parent, mother, colleague, friend, and individual doing her level best to make it through this weird and wonderful thing we call life. During my reflection, I’ve also thought about the story of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and its more than 1,100 people that are the heartbeat of our hospital. Their stories of perseverance, strength, turbulence, loss and triumph have come to be representative of what has anchored this organization for more than 130 years. Our stories, especially those since March of 2020, have come to mark a time during our shared history that is uniquely us.With that, I am excited to announce the launch of a special project our team has been working on for some time now. Titled “Stories of Grit & Grace” this non-fiction storybook of sorts, will take you through the journey of our HDGH People and their experience through this pandemic. You will hear different perspectives, different job classifications, and roles within our hospital. You will hear how discomfort at times was used as a means of growth, courage, innovation, and creativity; all leading to the way excellence in care is delivered to our community. We all have a story. A story of how these months have affected us. A story of the complexities of the surrounding world and our places within it. While there is power in telling our own personal story, there is equal bravery in bearing witness to others’ sorrows and joys. Our stories full of birth, death, celebrations, happiness, love, loss, fear and courage make up parts of all of us. The Stories of Grit and Grace are the ones made up by one workforce. One hospital. One team. These are our stories… together. Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect to read through Stories of Grit &Grace.
I am incredibly proud of this team, each and every individual, for what they have done and continue to do to keep us all healthy and safe. Make sure you follow our HDGH Instagram account (@hdghwindsor) where each week until November we will highlight the stories by our HDGH People.
While we all continue to write and create our stories, I leave you with a reminder: we have more in common than you think. So if you’re thinking that in this moment everything feels so awful, so overwhelming, so hard, it may be helpful to remember this. We are connected in more ways than one and once you start to listen, or learn of someone’s story these similarities become a bit more obvious. Our divisions become less obvious and our pain is easier to bear.133 years later… our story continues. Today, they are our stories of moving forward through grit and our stories of delivering love and care through grace.Jan
Jun 4, 2021 | Leadership, Community and Partnerships, Faces of HDGH
I was on a call today and found myself saying that “I’ve found my lost optimism.” I didn’t realize until the words left my mouth how true they were. I don’t know if you all are starting to feel more “regular you” and less “COVID all the time you” but I am. I spent some time this past weekend thinking about the shift. Why am I feeling “better”? Why now? What’s changed given the world is still in the grips of the pandemic and all the associated illness, loss and death? And I think I have a couple of things that have led to my more optimistic outlook. It could have something to do with our provincial number today, June 1, being the lowest since October 2020 with 699 new cases. I thought perhaps I could share these thoughts with you all. Maybe something will resonate with you – maybe not. But I hope I’m not alone in feeling this way.
First it’s spring! The weather has been relatively unstable but the sun is shining in the morning when I get up (usually) and the birds (and their babies) are singing. Generally, it’s the time of renewal, hope and regeneration. I’ve always had a special affinity for spring and summer – not sure I can fully explain it but for me fall and winter signal darker times, and by definition for me harder times, so spring is part of my optimism being found.
Second many in my family are vaccinated and by my own definition safer. I don’t know if I shared with you all how scared I have been that someone I love would get COVID…. specifically my hubby BK. BK has a number of health issues and I’ve worried a lot about him through this past year and a bit – this past week he got his second dose of AZ and for the first time in a long long time I didn’t have a nightmare about him contracting the virus. My family is everything and I’ve been incredibly worried (as many of you have been) about bringing the disease home or him getting it shopping, managing our household while I was consumed with working and keeping the hospital moving forward. The vaccination is key to this lightness I’m feeling.
Keeping with the vaccination theme, the third and final reason I thought of is my volunteer experience at the WECHU vaccination centre. I will tell you it fills me with great joy to have a part in administering the vaccine to some of the 245,782 (as of May 31) W/E residents who have received at least one dose.
It is a big reason why attend my volunteer shift every 2nd Saturday on my days off and I love every moment of it. From the older folks who are so excited to be getting closer to hugging their grandkids to the essential workers who have been living and working in fear – every conversation is a jewel of hope and optimism. Just like COVID, joy and happiness is contagious and I come home on Saturdays exhausted with incredibly sore and sometimes swollen knees – but I sleep deeply and happily knowing I’ve done a small part in making our part of the world a little safer. I’ve been asked why I volunteer when I have such an “important” job as a hospital CEO – but I’ll tell you that there is nothing more important than helping others to be less worried, less scared and more secure in living their lives right now.
I spoke with one lady who told me she hadn’t been out of her home since the pandemic started and she came out to get her vaccination so she could see her friends again. One young man who was an essential worker told me that he has been so anxious to get the vaccine so he would not worry about taking COVID home from his retail job to his mom who is sick. One young woman told me she got it to protect her kids … so many stories and so many conversations. The common denominator is relief of anxiety, fear and a need to take back their life on their terms for themselves and for the people they love. For me I feel that this is something concrete that I can do for them, for us all and for myself. I am a nurse after all first and foremost (since 1984) and I’ve always believed that part of the reason the public trusts us so is that they know we are there for them always – not just when it’s convenient – but always.
If you haven’t got the vaccine please do so – not just for you but for more so for the folks who love you and who you love. If you are looking for some helpful information on vaccines our Windsor Essex County Health Unit’s www.WEVAX.ca is a great local resource.
As always if you want to talk about any of this just reach out. I’m here.
Thanks all and be safe.
Mar 1, 2021 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Photo Courtesy of The Windsor Star, Photographer Dan Janisse
Well – it’s been almost a year since COVID-19 came to town. What a year it’s been for us all! When I think back on all that has happened, all that has changed and all that we have been through it’s no wonder we’re all tired. I’ve said in many forums that the last 12 months have been the toughest of my professional and personal life. I honestly believe that this experience has shaped me – shaped my leadership – shaped my priorities and indeed transformed me in ways I have yet to discover. I’m certain that many of you feel the same and in some ways, you know that who you are today is different than who you were a year ago.
In many ways I think we’re different as a community, as a HDGH team and as individuals. I’ve thought about some of these ways we have grown, evolved and changed over the last year. Here are some of those thoughts…
What about you? What’s different in your life? In your frame of reference? What have you learned this past year?
Last week I shared a post about how tired I am of all this. The intent was to open a conversation for us to really be honest about the toll this whole year has taken on us. I was surprised and honestly gratified by the response it’s generated – so many folks saying thank you to me for the comments and the honesty – that it resonated with their own feelings and that I helped them to know they aren’t alone. I want you all to know that it’s important for us to take the time when we can to grieve what we’ve lost, acknowledge the pain of our experiences, share honestly how we are feeling and finally support each other through the next few months as we approach the finish line of this horror of a pandemic. No one is alone right now – and as healthcare workers, we are sharing an experience that many will never fully understand. A note to our healthcare workers; it is time to take off those superhero capes and recognize that even we need to feel everything that has been the last 12 months. Our patients, families, friends and most importantly our mind, body and souls will be better because of it. So talk to each other – take the time to really ask “how are you doing.” If you’re tired of being tired (like me) feel free to reach in and we can chat. I’m here for you as you all have been here for me.
I want to close with the hope that I feel today. The vaccines are here and approx. 65% of our team here at HDGH have asked to be vaccinated – that’s awesome and gives me hope. We have begun the community vaccinations and Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes are now done and that gives me hope that the end is in sight. It’s not over quite yet but for the first time in a long time I actually can see and feel the finish line. That light we’ve been talking about at the end of the dark and scary tunnel is brighter today than it was a month ago. I know that we may have a couple of tough months between now, that finish line and light but we can do it!
To all those reading this today, hang in there – talk to each other – take some time to be kind to and care for yourself if you can and know that you’re not alone. We truly are in this together.
Jul 31, 2020 | Mental Health, Leadership, Community and Partnerships, Faces of HDGH
YAC Group Shot
The last few months have been a testament to the fact that the world is ever changing in unexpected ways. But, it has also been a testament to the great importance of connection, conversation and community that is so crucial to us as human beings. Even before COVID-19 began to sweep across nations, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) recognized the importance of including youth in the conversation of healthcare, their healthcare and the future of our community’s healthcare. I am incredibly proud of this initiative which adds a tremendously important voice to the healthcare conversation – one that frankly is not as “loud” as it should be. You will read two such voices today as you hear from Kaitlyn and Kat – two remarkable young women who are the future of our community in so many ways. Courage, compassion, collaboration and resilience have already been asked for from these young people and thankfully they answered the call with oomph J Enjoy this months blog from our Youth Advisory Council (YAC) that speaks to an important aspect of our individual and collective humanity; the desire and the need for togetherness – of supporting each other – of being vulnerable and being human.
The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) was established in 2018 to provide all staff members of HDGH with feedback on hospital programs, services, new initiatives and community engagement from the perspective of youth of Windsor-Essex. Since its establishment, the YAC has grown to 14 dedicated members who all bring differing experiences, perspectives and knowledge to council discussions and initiatives.
YAC has been committed to volunteering within the community to build powerful relationships with other youth and organizations for youth. In addition to providing consistent feedback to all areas of HDGH and contributing to the social media channels, they are also currently in the process of beginning a new initiative, Wellness Through Grace. This initiative will allow students to have resources, knowledge and support to be able to better care for their own mental health, support their loved ones and guide others in the right direction when it comes to wellness.
Kaitlyn McCarthy and Katarina Kolobaric are the co-chairs of the YAC and have been members since its establishment in 2018. As co-chairs, Kaitlyn and Katarina share the role of oversight, guidance and organization for biweekly meetings, initiatives and community outreach. They feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work alongside the wonderful individuals that are their council members as they help build a better future for youth, by youth.
A Note from Katarina:
As an individual who is always going through life at full speed, the onset of COVID-19 was not an easy adjustment. Essentially everything that I had planned for the next six months, from concerts to conferences and all the extracurricular events in between, was cancelled. Life had come to an abrupt halt, making me skid from the speed I was going at and come to a complete stop.
In all honesty, the very beginning of the pandemic was the most difficult on my mental health. I didn’t really know what to do with myself or how to really comprehend the vast degree to which this virus was affecting the world. I felt very detached from everything and everyone and like I had lost my purpose. Without the hustle and bustle of in-person University, my lifeguarding job and my other various involvements, it came down to realizing I literally had no hobbies because I never had time for them. It took a little while, but I was finally able to start feeling like myself again. Though I intensely missed the ability to see my loved ones, to hug them and talk to them without it being through a computer screen, I made peace with what I had.
My mentality was always able to shift positively when I came back to the root of my gratitude - being so thankful for my health and the health of all those around me. Also, being thankful for technology and its ability to still give us some form of connection helped me get through the more extreme feelings of social isolation. What really helped me was establishing a routine. Making a list of a few things to do every day made me feel more productive and purposeful. Adding on other hobbies that I had dropped because of lack of personal time, like actually reading for pleasure, inspired me to seek other things that I could do, simply because they made me happy. Having hobbies and setting tasks for yourself is great, but doing nothing is fine too. I learned to be more kind and patient with myself when I just didn’t have the energy to do anything on certain days.
There is no right way to respond to a pandemic. It has been scary, frustrating and extremely taxing on everyone. Allow yourself to take all the time you need, give yourself credit for just getting out of bed. Appreciate the little things. If we can take away anything from this pandemic, it should be that we should always take the time to slow life down a bit. To not take for granted the things that we have and to spread more love and kindness to the people in our lives.
We will most likely never go back to the “normal” we had before. But, that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. We are most definitely capable of coming out of this stronger than ever - resilient and ready to take on the next challenge. Continue to become more in touch with yourselves and learn as much as you can. We are powerful beyond measure and will make it through this, together.
A Note from Kaitlyn:
In March 2020, I stood amongst 100 other nursing students waiting for a midterm to begin, shoulder to shoulder. I had just gotten home from Toronto where I shared a milkshake for dessert at a restaurant and watched a film at the theatre next to strangers. Days later, I said an indefinite good-bye to my closest loved ones and gathered with my family to watch the Prime Minister make his first address regarding COVID-19. In the beginning, it felt surreal, like normal would be back and I could pretend that nothing happened. But soon still hasn’t come.
In March I was prepared to care for my community in the midst of such uncertainty. As an aspiring nurse and a dedicated member of my community, I knew being on the frontlines was where I needed and wanted to be. I was hired in mid-March as a Patient Screener at Erie Shores Healthcare and then signed on to be part of their Migrant Worker COVID Outreach Assessment Team. While working, I finished up my semester of nursing practical experience and lectures, online.
Ever since the beginning, I have struggled immensely with things I never would have expected to struggle with. I miss not being able to hug my loved ones or be surrounded by people smiling, laughing and talking, in shopping malls or at school. I am the one to tell families that they can’t see their loved ones in the hospital and I am the one to give doctors and nurses their designated personal protective equipment for the day. I have held the hand of a young migrant worker through multiple layers of gloves as he was swabbed for COVID-19, pale with fear. I don’t handle all of it well, there are still many days I cry or shake with anger. However, there are also days that my cheeks hurt from smiling and my mind is at peace.
Driving past the supportive signs that line the roads on my way to work and seeing the posts on social media about community togetherness helps me get through the bad days. Having the time to connect with old friends over the phone helps me get through the bad days. Finally focusing on myself and doing things I enjoy like going for a walk, listening to old music, painting and being with those in my household helps me get through the bad days. However, what has helped me the most and what continues to help me the most is knowing that we are all in this together.
No matter what, we are all affected by COVID-19. It may be in different ways but, at the end of the day, we are all learning, we are all trying, we are all doing our best and we will recover from this, together. So, for those of you who are at a similar place as I am, my advice to you is to take each day one step at a time. Take this time to focus on yourself, reach out to others to encourage them and support your community. The world is not going to move on without you, we are the future of the world, we will move as it does. But, as you find yourself in the unknown; watch, learn and start to see how you can be the change as a generation of the future.
Jun 9, 2020 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Allied Health Staff
This guest blog comes to you from Cassandra Leblanc one of HDGH therapy professionals. We had talked a little bit about the pandemic pay decision by government following one of the staff huddles I did on the units and after some back and forth by email decided that Cassandra’s voice needed to be shared in this format. In her blog Cassandra speaks to the role of therapists in our health system and why they matter, why they are important to our patients and to our community, and why they are ESSENTIAL. I personally and professionally am proud of our team here at HDGH and am pleased to provide a venue for their worth to be understood by those who may not “get it”. To us at HDGH they are indeed essential!
Thanks Cassandra for accepting the invitation to blog!Jan
The Ontario government recently released a revised, and final, list of healthcare staff eligible for pandemic pay. As an occupational therapist in a rehabilitation hospital, it was not only disappointing to hear that allied health professionals were once again omitted from this list, but demoralizing to realize that the Ontario government does not view our work as, “essential”. I am not alone in expressing that occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language pathologists, and certified rehabilitation assistants are concerned with the impact that this decision may have on how our services and our professions will be regarded in the future. We fear that the decision to omit allied health from pandemic pay may devalue our work in the eyes of the government, the public, and our interprofessional colleagues. With this concern in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to shed light on the unique value of allied health professionals in a rehabilitation context. We often joke that you only learn what a therapist truly does when you need therapy. While our roles are so diverse that it is impossible to capture the full scope of allied health in one blog post, I hope that this provides some semblance of perspective.
Allied health, or as you may know us individually, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language pathologists, and certified rehabilitation assistants, are healthcare professionals that focus primarily on function. Through therapy we ensure patients are able to return home to care for themselves and their families, to return to work as productive members of society, and to enjoy activities as they had prior to hospitalization. Allied health works closely with patients and families to safely and efficiently discharge patients to reduce hospital lengths of stay, and have been shown through research to be pivotal in preventing secondary complications and costly re-admissions to hospital. As the Chicago Tribune put it, "It's one thing to survive the infection, but what's next?" We are the healthcare professionals who help patients to walk, talk, and care for themselves. We help patients regain movement of their limbs, compensate for cognitive difficulties, and educate on living life to the fullest with disabilities or chronic health conditions. We help patients return to work, enjoy leisure activities and sport, and enable them to age in place safely. In short, allied health professionals support patients to regain their quality of life after illness or injury.
This brings my discussion to where we are now, in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Ontario government has neglected to acknowledge therapists’ value, there has been a steadily growing need for therapy throughout the pandemic. As professionals who focus on both recovery of illness and adaptation to disability, we have proven to be well suited to meet the needs of COVID-19 patients as they face new and debilitating symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, globalised weakness, and cognitive difficulties after long term ventilator use. In addition to our evolving role with the illness itself, we also continue to care for our pre-COVID-19 caseloads and ensure swift and safe discharge to help keep hospital capacity low in the event that the pandemic takes a turn for the worst. As you can imagine, it is impossible to provide the care we do without coming into close contact with our patients. Therapists and rehabilitation assistants are providing invaluable care with the same passion, courage, and resilience as the professions included in pandemic pay. All while donning the same protective equipment and braving the same risks of contracting COVID-19.
We are proud of our chosen professions. We are proud to put our patients first, no matter the risks. We are proud to help our patients flourish and find hope in the face of adversity. It is baffling to me how the Ontario government does not consider therapists as, “essential.” All I can think is that the government, like much of our public, is simply unaware of the services we provide. Occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language pathologists, and certified rehabilitation assistants may not be the first health professionals that come to mind when thinking of hospital staff, but it is my hope that by making our voices heard, our value and the services we provide on a daily basis will be considered essential during future healthcare decisions.
Below are a few articles highlighting therapy and their role during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Nov 1, 2019 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Something we’ve always admired from the CEO in Janice is her honesty. We always know when asking Janice a question or for her feedback that we’ll get nothing short of the truth.
As our HDGH’s communication team, this is something we value in her leadership. Her approachability, transparency and honesty is not just something felt by the Comms Team but qualities also honoured by our staff, patients and partners. For this month’s blog, we thought it would be fun to use this honesty to our advantage through a Q & A style blog; Real questions, real answers with very little fine tuning from behind the scenes :)
We hope you enjoy getting to know our CEO like we do.
-The HDGH Comms Team
Driven. I have been told by a lot of folks over the years that they perceive me that way and I’ve come to see it as a positive descriptor. I know where I’m going, what I have to do and I rarely get distracted from those two things.
Years ago I would have answered differently but now I believe success is about love; loving and being loved is for me the most important gift we are given as humans. I am a very successful woman on this level as I am surrounded by people who love me and whom I love in return – life is good.
This one is tough because I made SO VERY MANY mistakes. One that stands out though given what I do now is not asking for help when I struggled with figuring things out after my son was born. In hindsight I was likely experiencing post-partum depression but at that time I didn’t know it and felt that as a nurse I should have it all figured out. I didn’t and as a result I wasn’t my best self for my family – especially my new son.
Managing the demands that come with the job – demands on my personal time and my family. For instance, I’ll be with my grandkids or my hubby and folks will approach me to chat about HDGH and the services we provide. Sometimes these are good conversations (mostly) but once in a while not so much! I think my family has become used to it and I’m working on that too.
So much but two things stand out for me right now. First, is the success of our Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). I’m passionate about patient/family voice in healthcare and the work that’s happened here is inspirational. We’ve recruited some amazing folks who are making a real difference for our community and I’m really proud of that.
The second, and equally important, is the introduction and uptake from staff on the Unit Based Councils across the hospital. One of the reasons I got into management in the first place was because I felt I needed a voice – I needed to have a say in what happened in my work and in my workplace. To have these councils working now and making positive change is incredibly validating that HDGH is on the right track to creating a sustainable staff voice.
Neither. They are equally important. Instinct without expertise is guessing and expertise without instinct is rote performance. You need both, sprinkled with a whole lot of humility, kindness, willingness to be wrong and ability to laugh at yourself.
So many people really have inspired me over the years. It’s hard to choose just one. So I’ll take this question and say that as a female leader I look to other female leaders for inspiration and frankly, for the first time in my many years on this planet, there are so many women leaders on the world, national, provincial and local regional stage that it’s hard to pick just one. So in that order I’m inspired by the following women:
Globally, Angela Merkel who is a rock star world leader. She gets things done and takes no “stuff” from bullies disguised as Presidents.
Nationally, Elizabeth May who is knowledgeable, intelligent, prepared, authentic and not afraid to say she doesn’t know everything but what she does know she really really knows.
Provincially, I have to say I really admire Julia Hanigsberg who is the CEO of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto. She’s down to earth, social, kind and good at what she does. Best of all, she advocates for kids! Nothing is more inspirational to me than that.
Locally, lots of women inspire me every day to be a better leader and many of them work for HDGH. I won’t name them because they all know who they are :)
Stop taking yourself so seriously – everything doesn’t need to happen the way you think it should happen. Be a little less tightly wound and relax a bit more about where you are and what you’re doing. Life will happen. You don’t have to have it all figured out today. Oh and buy stock in a funny little company called Apple when you get the chance :)
Hug my grandkids. Multiple times.
From everybody who works here, gets care here or supports us in some way or another. Ideas come from commitment, compassion and collaboration. Nobody has all the answers and the best ideas come when we listen to each other.
Taking time to do all this stuff I’m talking about here – listening, building relationships and networks with others. Listening to the advice of others whom I admire and most importantly passing on the lessons I’ve learned to others. When I mentor young leaders, I always grow and learn a lot. That’s the beauty of growing old - learning that growth comes not by forcing it but by making room for it.
Nov 5, 2018 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Happy November folks … this month’s blog is going to focus on appreciation and why saying thank you and being grateful to your employees is important. I’m going to start by taking you back to when I was a little girl. My parents worked hard but there was never anything extra in our household so it was truly miraculous the year that we got a television. The reason I tell you this is because one of the shows I remember most is Romper Room and the reason I remember this show was the Magic Mirror. For those of you who grew up in the Star Wars era and beyond where everything science fiction is possible I ask you to consider what it was like for a little girl in Scarborough, to sit in front of the TV, and see a beautiful lady with a magic mirror say that “she can look through her mirror and see all the boys and girls.” Kind of like Santa Claus. My sisters and I would watch and hope that she called our name … I don’t ever recall her calling my name but the anticipation of it – the knowledge that she knew that I was there –was powerful to me. It was fantasy, but for me, very real. One of the show’s hosts was interviewed about the Magic Mirror and the popularity of that segment where she would go to the desk and pick up the mirror. She said, “It has less to do with me. It has even less to do with the mirror. It has everything to do with that little kid sitting on the floor who I would talk directly to,” she says “Little children want to be recognized. They want to be noticed. Then as adults we still want to be validated and seen.”
That desire to be validated and seen is why saying THANK YOU and why this year’s staff appreciation week matters.
I’ve worked in many organizations where employees are valued and appreciated as well as those where that is not the case. There is a difference in how those organizations feel, perform and how patients, clients and families experience their care. Not surprisingly organizations where staff feel valued, appreciated and are told thank you outperform all the rest on most of the metrics that matter. Here, at HDGH, we want our staff to feel appreciated, thanked and validated – and we’re working hard on creating that kind of culture. Thus – the Changing Lives Recognition Program.
From an HR perspective, a blog from hracuity.com talks about 5 reasons why employee engagement matters (2015). One that jumped out at me is that employees like being connected and involved and seeing themselves as an important piece in the bigger picture – the Mission of the hospital if you will. I liked that and relate it to our commitment and ongoing support to the development of our unit based councils where staff voice plays an important part in achieving excellence on the unit. I believe staff voice matters – is actually critical in our success – and I commit our leadership team to continuing to support this journey.
The second perspective is from a blog by kabbage.com (2017) about how to value your employees. It’s focused on small business and you may wonder about its relevance in healthcare but I think in many ways we are a small business. One could argue that our individual units and programs are unique small business environments in some ways. The post articulates much of what I’m talking about here; everyone benefits from praise in the workplace, thank you matters and flexible environments where employees have discretionary decision making (unit councils again) matters. But what stood out to me is this statement; Everyone needs a mission. This is important because it leads to the discussion about what makes HDGH successful – everyone being part of the bigger picture and feeling that their contribution makes a difference. Being acknowledged, appreciated and thanked for your work leads to that connection.
Finally let’s talk about the numbers.
In 2017/2018 HDGH saw a 5% improvement in patients receiving information on admission, a 3% reduction of total patients falls, a 92.2% overall hand hygene and 94% of our patients telling us they would recommend HDGH to friends. HDGH is doing really really well on our quality and safety metrics. Our patients’ feedback is excellent and our engagement scores across all areas is good to great. That’s important because remember that our focus and our priority is to provide excellent patient/client care. Staff that are valued and appreciated are happier at work and the results here demonstrate that quite ably.
In closing let me be really clear and address our HDGH staff directly. It’s important to validate and appreciate you all in order to provide better patient care, to do well on our accreditation survey, to have better results on our QIP etc. All that is important. But – it’s not the best reason to say thank you to all of you for what you do. The best reason to say thank is that you are deserving of thanks – of acknowledgement – of appreciation.I want you to know that we get how tough the job is. We know how much you care. We know how tired you are sometimes. We know that sometimes you wonder if anyone is paying attention.
We do and we are.
Thank you for continuing to help us achieve great things for our patients, and clients and our community. We appreciate it and we appreciate you.
I appreciate you.
Sep 10, 2018 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Happy September everyone!
Hard to believe that another summer is winding down to make way for the beauty and fun of the fall season. It’s a great time of year that is filled with energy and excitement for some and trepidation and fear for others. For instance my grandkids are super excited to have new backpacks and to be getting back on their bus to
school. At the same time they are scared and nervous about going to “latchkey” for the first time since mom has a new full time job. The same experience – the same anticipation – can inspire both good emotions and less helpful ones all at the same time.
Personally I’ve had many experiences in my almost 60 years (yep that BIG birthday is on the horizon) that have taught me to pay attention when I’m feeling nervous, uncertain or uncomfortable. When I feel uncomfortable with a new situation or a new project or a new partnership – all of which continue to be part of my job here at HDGH – I am continuously reminded to learn from each one of these in turn becoming a stronger, more informed and hopefully more effective CEO.
This past summer, my husband Bernie and I moved into our forever home on Lake St. Clair. We had planned to wait until we were both retired but trusted our instincts and purchased a 25 year old home. It had great bones and was well constructed but was missing a part that made it feel “like us.” … so we undertook a renovation project. It took months and months but we finally moved in at the beginning of summer.
If you have gone through a construction or renovation project, you know they are often made up of decision after decision. Choosing everything from floors and paint to faucets and finishes. Along the way I was at times frustrated, angry, sad, hopeless, happy and above all impatient. I had to trust the advice and counsel of the professionals we hired and it was hard at times to imagine how this mess before my eyes would ever come back together to look normal again. But it did. At the end of the project I can honestly say I love how it came together. I had to stay focused on the end goal and not let my fears and frustrations get in the way of getting there.
Many of you may be facing challenges at work, at home, at church, within your family or you know someone who is. You will be uncomfortable and feel like the end goal is far out of reach. That’s ok. The big lesson that I’ve learned over the years is to not let the discomfort stand in my way. Each of us has a path to travel along – travel it with confidence and you will grow comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I leave you with this quote to think about going into the fall season; “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” - Brian Tracy
Be awkward. Be uncomfortable. Become YOU!
Jul 4, 2018 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
I’ll never forget the day I ‘graduated’ from Queen’s University with my Masters in Public Administration. It was the strangest feeling. I had worked so hard, given up time with my kids and husband, lived away from home for months and then suddenly I got the certificate in the mail. I couldn’t go to the actual graduation as I was moving that weekend. An odd feeling on many levels. Beyond all the graduation stress there was a feeling like I was ready to conquer the world and most of me felt terrified of all that at the same time. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one feeling this strange sense of excitement, nerves and fear of what’s next. Up to this point, a big part of my life had been about the routine of school; hours spent in class, studying, doing homework and balancing it all with being a wife, mom and nurse. Now, I was free, but free to do what?
As there are so many new grads out there at this time of year, I would like to take July’s blog as an opportunity to share some words of wisdom to everyone that perhaps is experiencing the array of emotions that comes with graduating post-secondary.
Here are some of the things myself and HDGH colleagues wish we had been told when entering that big scary “real” world when you feel you have to prove to everyone that all those years of school were worth it.
Your career is a marathon – not a sprint. We all have goals and aspirations and many of us…particularly the type As of us in the crowd want to achieve success the minute we hit the ground running but every job that we have…every project or piece of work is an opportunity to learn and to grow. Every one we meet along the way…no matter their role… is a potential teacher. So, instead of always looking to the finish line – let each step along the way be an experience that enables you to get to the next step. And… HAVE FUN!
“Learn to fail, or fail to learn”; if we want to grow as individuals we need to be confident in trying new things and taking risks, without concerning ourselves with the possibility of failing.
Be a team player. Education and the job market can be very competitive. Sometimes people forget that we need to support one another, and not just look out for ourselves.
Try to go with the flow, keep a positive outlook, and try to say “yes” to as many opportunities as you can because there will always be something new to learn, a new person to meet, and a new place to explore.
From me Jan ….. This was a tough question for me, but a good one. I thought long and hard and came up with this bit of advice…
I wish someone had told me that your degree is a passport of sorts – it isn’t a guarantee of admission to the future you think you’re entitled to. A good university (or post-secondary) education opens a door – but you have to go through many doors to get to the destination you’re ultimately meant to arrive at.
Good luck to all of you, and remember doors are meant to be opened. Step through with confidence, excitement and an open-mind.
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