Dec 2, 2019 | Leadership, Community and Partnerships
I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness lately and what it truly means to have a positive impact on others. I think this subject is especially still top of mind due to HDGH’s recent launch of the iPledge campaign where I committed to 60 intentional acts of kindness in recognition of my 60 years on the planet. But to me, it’s more important than that.
It’s also very much about the season we’re in - a season of giving. Like most probably, it’s because of Christmas and Thanksgiving, two holidays where my own internal compass more naturally orients to others. So this month’s blog will highlight just that - kindness, giving and this internal compass can instead guide us all year long and not just only during special holidays.
Why be kind? What does it matter? Does anyone even notice? Does anyone even care? The answers are simple and complicated all at the same time. Yes, kindness is noticed and yes, it matters to a whole lot of people. But often it is a bit more complicated.
Kindness is sometimes mistaken for weakness.
Consider this quote by the Dalai Lama, “Don't ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance or my kindness for weakness. Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” Think about how you define strength – does kindness, compassion and tolerance come to mind? If not, why not? How do you characterize strength? Do you think of a military-type figure or the type of strength demonstrated by the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa? What is your mental model of a strong person and do you believe kindness is a factor in that strength?
I personally believe that my own internal strength – that I have called on in many difficult years of my life – comes from a deeply rooted desire to make a difference for others. It’s why nursing was such a good fit for me as a career choice and why I believe I’m “home” here at HDGH.
One aspect of kindness for me is the personal orientation of giving of yourself to others; either in time, energy, acts of generosity and goodwill or dollars. I do all of these regularly, year round and with tremendous personal satisfaction. I wasn’t always in this place though – for a long time my “giving energy” was oriented to special events like birthdays and anniversaries and holidays like Thanksgiving within the family and Christmas for others in the community. Over the years, and as my children and my knowledge of the needs in our community grew, I became more oriented to a philosophy of giving year round. How you give of yourself will be personal and it should be meaningful. Perhaps you volunteer in the community, perhaps you foster children or animals, perhaps you donate to our Foundation, perhaps you are a regular contributor to your church, mosque or synagogue. What matters isn’t WHAT you do instead that you commit to GIVE of yourself to help others.
For this coming season and as you enter 2020, I encourage you to please consider being intentionally kind to someone else. When you do this please share it with me and others through social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or can even just simply use the hashtag #iPledgeChallenge) or by sending me an email. You can also drop by and tell me all about it when I’m ringing the bells for the Salvation Army kettle campaign on December 6th at 2 pm at Devonshire Mall (by Shoppers) …. I’ll be watching for you. I look forward to hearing all about your own experiences with the joy that comes from doing something for someone else.
I wish you all a happy and giving holiday season and hope that you find all the love and joy you deserve.
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.
Oct 1, 2019 | Leadership
Hi all. What a wonderful summer – one that began with our amazing Accreditation and continued with long, fun-filled days with my grandchildren and my mama on the back deck reminiscing about family and friends from our shared past and more. I am blessed and extremely grateful for that.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that the past few months weren’t like that for everyone. Over the summer, members of my personal family went through serious illness while members of our HDGH family experienced significant loss, pain and illness. Add to that the external and rather chaotic world we’re presently living in, with the news constantly filled with climate change, political instability, death and disease. I want to spend a bit of time talking about how I personally manage these tough times and start a dialogue about what we need to look at within HDGH in helping you all do the same.
Like many, I work a lot of hours, sometimes I don’t have dinner with my family and there are weeks when I feel as though there is barely time to breathe. At times like this, it can take very little to upset my emotional or intellectual balance which is so important to maintain for my ongoing mental health. Over the years I’ve built a system of sorts that helps me to work through these times and regain my balance in order to keep moving forward. After all, dealing with change or loss is an inevitable part of life. At some point, we will all experience varying degrees of setback.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a mental health practitioner and I’m not attempting to tell you all what you should do with mental illnesses like anxiety disorders or depression. I’m talking about resilience –the ability to cope with stress and hardship; filling a reservoir of strength to draw from to carry you through without falling apart.
Here are a few things that I do to make sure that reservoir is always full:
While writing this blog I thought it would be useful to share a link to a highly readable article from Harvard Business Review that speaks to finding and building resilience at work https://wisdomlabs.com/ and this 90 second rules (a personal fav) on mindfulness.
It’s something we need to talk more about at HDGH – how can we work together to build organizational resilience through supporting ongoing development of personal resilience among our 1,200 or so committed people? One way is by this week’s official launch of our Peer Support Team – a group of trained HDGH staff members who are able to assist their fellow colleagues in crisis or group crisis intervention. The HDGH Peer Support Team is trained to help our staff work through any problem, or issue that is creating stress or turmoil at work.
In closing, the jobs we do are hard at times and our personal lives can also be challenging and painful. Building our muscles of resilience is a good way to face life’s obstacles head on whether it’s at work or home.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions!
May 31, 2019 | Leadership
Hi all I have been thinking a lot about journeys lately – no, not the band although their music remains some of my favourite ever – but the journeys I’ve taken in my life. It’s funny how much we can get lost in the day-to-day busyness of work, parenting, housework, of joys and losses and all that comes with being a human being. Sometimes it’s a good thing – a really good thing – to stop and think about where you are and where you have been. I’ve been doing this a lot lately. Maybe this is because I’m coming up to a big birthday (60) and a big wedding anniversary (40 years) or maybe it’s just God telling me that I need to spend time remembering important people and things. I don’t know why but I do know that this reflection has trickled over to us and our HDGH family and the journey we’ve been on. I’d like to take you back to four years ago. It likely seems like just yesterday to some of you and maybe a lifetime ago to others. For me, it seems like just last week in many ways. Four years ago (June 14 – 18, 2015) we were preparing for our 1st Accreditation survey as Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. Remember that our current organization was “born” on October 1, 2013 and a short 18 months or so later we were experiencing our first survey with Accreditation Canada. I remember being nervous and unsure of what to expect. Would we be ready? Would the surveyors “get us”? Would our staff be willing and able to represent who we were and who we could be? Our leadership team was still coming together, staff were just beginning to trust in our vision, we were still learning about the potential here at this campus and we weren’t sure that we were ready to tell our story in the way it needed to be told. But – we did it. Accreditation Canada came, they helped us tell our story of change, of success and of future planning – and awarded us Accreditation with Commendation. I was elated! Not only did we succeed, we did incredibly well given our short time together as a family. Four years later Accreditation Canada is with us again. Again we will tell our story. This time however I am not nervous – and I hope you all aren’t either. We have a remarkable story to tell. A story of growth. A story of innovation. A story of change and improvement. A story of safety and quality. Our story is one of hope and vision – values and mission. Our story is told by staff – it’s told by patients/clients– it’s told by our community partners, our volunteers and physicians. It’s told by me and by you. The HDGH story is our shared story – a story of how we have come together as a family to serve our community in new and innovative ways. We have a lot to say. This week I chaired a meeting with the leaders who are working so very hard to get us ready for accreditation. In previous meetings, I routinely talked about how much we had to get done, the need to be sure we were prepared, their role in ensuring all of our HDGH people are proud of our work and ready to talk about it. Mostly, I talked about MY expectations of them. This meeting though, I asked the group to reflect on the past four years and tell the room one thing that they were incredibly proud of. The room was quiet for a brief moment and then the sharing started. We heard about the increase in different disciplines teamwork, our investment in education and staff training (more than $20,000/year in bursaries and supports), and the 51% reduction in forms. We also heard about our Unit Based Councils and Patient and Family Advisory Council and their contributions to our organization as well as the many quality improvement initiatives and commitments to safety. I know that in that meeting – in that moment – I was clear that HDGH has arrived at the place we aimed to be. I am not ashamed to tell you I got emotional and had to collect myself. I was hearing first-hand that we are a high quality, patient-centred hospital. We ARE a high performing hospital with the metrics to prove it. But that’s not all we are. We are a hospital that knows that our job – our number one job – is to take care of our patients/clients and protect our staff. That is eminently clear in our results. I am incredibly proud of everything we’ve done – including the failures and mistakes we’ve had and we’ve learned from (the TV policy is one that stands out in my mind).
For me, there are three things that epitomize my own thoughts on what we needed to do to be a hospital that the community, our patients/clients and their families and our staff/volunteers and physicians can count on.
In closing, I encourage you to think about what YOU are most proud of! Shout it from the rooftops so to speak!
Be proud – be vocal – be you!
As always I welcome your comments and suggestions
May 2, 2019 | Leadership, Community and Partnerships
Let me start this month’s blog with a story about my father-in-law - known in our family as Opa.
Opa is a little over 80 years old. He lives in the same community as my two brothers-in-law and their families- about four hours or so away from my hubby, BK and I. We talk with Opa weekly when he calls us for his ‘check to make sure we’re alive’ call on Sunday morning precisely at 10:00 a.m. Come rain or shine, he calls us at that time. It’s reassuring on many levels to hear the phone ring as it means he’s ok and on schedule. :)
Opa lives on his own, drives his own car, goes to the local mall regularly, does daily exercises and has an active relationship with his girlfriend. He is feisty, opinionated and stubborn (just like my hubby and my kids – it runs in the family) and has not required a lot of help or support to live reasonably in his apartment. He is capable of managing his life but it’s growing more and more complicated as he ages. Specifically, it’s growing more complex managing the multiple number of medical appointments and follow-ups he has.
About two weeks ago, Opa had a bout of pneumonia, with some cardiac involvement and was hospitalized for a couple of days in his local acute care hospital. It is an excellent facility and he received top notch care, however some things happened that illustrate this month’s blog topic. One in particular is helpful for understanding why the changes that are happening – as it relates to the new Ontario government – are necessary in my opinion.
On his last day in hospital, his hospital physician came in to see him while my brother-in-law was in the room, so he FaceTimed us into the conversation with the physician. This is how the conversation went: (paraphrased and edited:)
Doc: Opa I think you can go home today, so can you tell me when you will be seeing your doctor next?
Opa: Which doctor?
Doc: How many doctors do you have?
Opa: 7 – I think I have 7
Doc: 7 – oh your family doctor?
Opa: I don’t know when I go – I don’t remember – it’s at home
It went on from there. Opa was not clear on what the hospital doctor was looking for. The doctor wanted to communicate to Opa that he needed to follow-up with his family doctor in short order. All Opa heard though is why don’t you know this – although that clearly wasn’t the intent of the doctor’s questions.
So why am I telling you this story? Because change is underway in Ontario that will (if we get it right) change the above conversation to something more like the following:
Doc: Opa I’m here to talk with you about your plans at home. I’ve reviewed your file and I see that you’re due to see your family doctor in three weeks. I’ve called the office and your appointment has been moved up to the day after tomorrow and is confirmed. Your family doctor has your information from your stay here in hospital and is going to work with you to adjust your medications to ensure you stay healthy. I noticed you’re living on your own and wonder if you need any support at home for the next couple of weeks? Etc. etc.
See the difference? In today’s system Opa has to manage it all and remember it all. He’s more or less on his own. In the future state, the “system” is linked, connected and information flows across the “silos” so patients don’t have to manage or remember it all. This is just a small example of the promise of the new Ontario Health Teams which are the key component of the health system change that we have begun here in Ontario.
There has been a lot of conversation since Minister Christine Elliott’s announcement of this change in February. Is it good, is it bad, how will we ever accomplish a restructuring of this size? Is this the first step to privatized healthcare? Etc etc….
These and other questions are normal and are to be expected in a time of change. What should also be expected is some anxiety, some fear and maybe a bit of hesitation all mixed in with excitement, hope and enthusiasm. For all kinds of reasons including from the clear focus on patients and families to the requirement for connectivity and collaboration, our team here at HDGH believes this is a very promising change. We know that if this is done properly, we will have the opportunity to deliver a future where the Opas of our province are not left wondering where to turn next for their healthcare needs but are instead guided along the entire path by those of us who work in the system.
We have the chance to finally build a system that is patient and family centred, that works to ensure staff and physicians are supported to be their best, where costs are managed appropriately by ensuring the dollars we have are flowed to the most urgent and community focused priorities and where outcomes are managed and publicly reported. Wow … doesn’t that sound like something we all want to be a part of?
This is an exciting time. I know that many are concerned but I’ve also spoken to those who are excited and eager to begin the work. Here in Windsor-Essex our community has begun to come together to have the needed conversations on what will work for us and what we will need to do together to make this promise a reality. There is much to do and I’ll keep you all apprised as we go.
Like spring – change is in the air and it’s bringing hope for renewal.
Apr 8, 2019 | Leadership
Happy April, all. I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said that I am sad to see this winter go. I am so looking forward to getting back outside, enjoying the fresh spring air and resurfacing from lunch hour walks in our tunnel to enjoying the scenery of our beautiful campus. I wanted to take April’s blog opportunity to write about nominations for our President’s Awards and May’s upcoming celebration of Nurses’ Week. For our HDGH People, our dedicated staff, April is the month where we hope you all take the time to nominate a worthy colleague for an HDGH President’s Awards and/or Scholarship. Whether it be for a well-deserving rookie, an outstanding team or a colleague that you think has made an outstanding contribution to the patient experience, these are a range of categories where nominations are welcome. Heroes, champions and role models. There are always times when someone goes beyond the call of duty. For example, just the other day I had the pleasure of spending a few moments on 2South thanking an outstanding nurse Didi Kayisangwa who was nominated by her team for her visible commitment to providing values based care. I was struck by how happy and proud the 2South team were that Didi had been nominated and recognized – it is an important part of our culture at HDGH that we celebrate each other’s success and support each other’s challenges. In talking with Didi, it was clear that she is unafraid to speak of the joy and love she has for her patients and her extended family on 2South. It was the highlight of my week and it left me thinking of how far we’ve come as a hospital. HDGH is an organization that cheers each other on and I couldn’t be more pleased to get to be a part of that. Recognition isn’t just for our HDGH family to thinking about. Indeed, for all my readers who may be a past HDGH patient/client or loved one of a patient/client, there is an opportunity for you too! If you experienced or are currently experiencing care that goes above and beyond by an HDGH staff member, please consider nominating this special individual. This year, our annual President’s Awards celebration happens at the end of May and is always one of my favorite events at our hospital. Not only do we recognize the contributions and successes of our people, but I also get the chance to meet their families, loved ones and friends that have attributed to their accomplishments. I look forward to this event and having the opportunity to thank all the individuals who help our HDGH staff bring their best selves to work each day – they can’t do what they do without the love and support of family and friends.
Nominations for all our President’s Awards are now open on the HDGH intranet until April 26!
It’s also important to note that as we approach the National Nurses’ Week from May 6 -12th, we are also now accepting nominations for the Jeanne Mance Extraordinary Care and the Lori Dupont Bursary in Nursing that recognizes either a nurse from HDGH or Windsor Regional Hospital who exemplify extraordinary nursing care.
Each year, there is a compelling theme for national Nurses’ Week. The 2019 theme being “A Voice to lead – Health for All.”
As a RN myself, I know that every nurse has a voice and a story. Some of our stories are ones of triumph and some are of loss however in every story there is care, compassion, excellence in care and love for our community. This year’s theme recognizes that our work goes beyond accessible health services, but lends itself to a state of spiritual, emotional, physical and mental health that helps our patients lead meaningful lives. In my own life I remember those patients and families and those colleagues that inspired me, taught me, humbled me and at times challenged me. Think for a moment as you read this of the nurses in your life and your work and consider acknowledging their care, their passion, their professionalism, their voice for health and nominate them for one of our awards.
As a wrap this up, the very obvious theme of recognition runs through my words here this month. I truly believe we don’t take enough time to recognize the people who have positively affected our work or lives. Recognition doesn’t always need to come in from of a nomination or awards ceremony- often for us at HDGH, it comes in the form of a simple thank you – a thank you for your hard work, thank you for caring enough for your patient that you stop for a moment to provide comfort, thank you for going that little bit extra to remind someone they are worthy and human, or to hear a thank you for just being present when someone needed not to be alone. I don’t believe awards and recognition make any of us better at what we do but it is validation that someone pays attention and cares enough to acknowledge us.
At HDGH we pay attention and we acknowledge how fortunate we are to do the work we do and that so many caring and professional staff commit themselves to this vision and mission we share.
For that I am honoured to say thank you.
Mar 4, 2019 | Leadership
Hi All, This month’s blog is inspired by International Women’s Day 2019 and its theme #BalanceforBetter. The campaign, which is rooted in a drive for gender parity, is marked by a celebration and collection of events on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Locally, there are many activities happening this year and HDGH is participating in two of them. On the 7th , I will be one of four female panelists at an event hosted by the University of Windsor’s EPICentre and on the 8th , will be attending HDGH and In Honour of the Ones We Love “Windsor’s Unsung Female Heroes” event that is SOLD OUT!
I have been thinking a lot about women’s rights, gender parity and feminism lately and have some thoughts I’d like to share with you all for a couple of reasons;
One - I am part of the small minority of female hospital CEO’s in our country and for that reason we need to be talking about this issue and,
Two – our hospital’s focus is on creating a healthier community. That can’t be achieved without talking about inequity in all its forms.
What would it mean in our city, region, province, country and world to achieve gender balance? To reach a place where we no longer have to talk about women’s rights? Where we no longer have a healthcare system where the majority of the workforce is female (82%) but in leadership we find less than 30% of health organizations are led by women?
To answer this question, I went into the research – specifically the transformational feminist/female leadership research – to review some of the literature about what women leaders bring to the table that’s different. I didn’t just look at all women leaders who happened to be female, but instead women who work from a transformational leadership perspective that value full female participation and equal rights.
What I found in reading a few articles provided by our small but mighty research team here at HDGH was fascinating. For purposes of this “shortish” blog I’ll be referencing one specific article- Transformational Leadership: The feminist connection in postmodern organizations, Barker and Young, 1994. This article best represents what I want to discuss today, and what kind of leadership we will need moving forward into the brave new world of healthcare transformation (I encourage you to read it yourselves for the best understanding of their perspectives/arguments).
According to Baker and Young (1994) transformational leadership is:
When one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality. Transformational leadership is moral leadership in that it has a transforming effect on both the leader and the follower, bringing out the best in each. (p.18)
Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
Leaders who don’t tell you what to do but help you to figure out the “how” and the “why.” To me that is the essence of what we need moving into this brave new world of health care reform.
Now let’s add in the female perspective to this idea. What do women bring to this definition of leadership that is already progressive in nature?
In this article, the authors talk about women’s ways of knowing and thinking, and how it’s different. Women do their work through a web of relationships that build up both parties. We share our power for the benefit of the larger picture. Women build webs of interconnectedness that is at its heart a coalition or network of intent – and that intent being the success of all of those involved or being served – not just the success of the individual. The language of this is telling; support, empathy, connections, cooperation, relationships, listening etc. In reading, I can’t help but think of all the partners we have here at HDGH, partners with whom we share our knowledge, our learning, our resources from time to time - our power, if you will. In the examples I can think of involving our formal and more informal partnerships we have grown stronger and more connected to our community and so have our partners.
There is so much more to talk about in this article that I just don’t have the space to reflect on today so I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts in general and some disclaimers about what I’m not saying.
At about 30% today, we have a long way to go to reach gender parity in healthcare CEO selection. Oh and keep in mind a lot of the current female CEOs are in a similar age bracket as myself where retirement is looking better and better so we’d better get moving on getting the next generation ready – with massive reform on the way, we’re going to need them.
Thanks for reading!
As always, I’m happy to receive comments or questions to Janice.firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me at kafferjkaffer on Twitter to keep up with what’s happening at HDGH.
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!
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