By: Katie Owens, Vice President, HealthStream Engagement Institute

Originally posted November 29, 2016

 

It’s hard to believe that 2016 is almost over. With the holiday season upon us and the hustle and bustle of getting it “all done,” it’s easy to focus on the areas that aren’t working and the times we feel we are less than perfect. In our busyness, we can soon forget the moments that bring us joy. We should all be still for a moment and be reminded of why our professions in healthcare are so profound. Two influences impacted my focus for this November blog: a lunch outing with my family and a recent interview I had with Win Howard, CEO Asante Three Rivers Medical Center.

My family recently visited one of our favorite waterfront restaurants on Fort Walton Beach, The Gulf. While trying to enjoy my lunch I was also entertaining my rambunctious four-year-old son when suddenly I was captivated by a sign that steered my attention.

 

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So many times, I hear leaders, staff, and providers experiencing burnout…overwhelmed with the “to do”s, frustrated by the growing documentation and protocols, the heightened emotions faced with the rising expectations of patient care. Yet, in my experience, the best days we have are when we can look back on any given day and see the good that happened and that we were able to share with those we touched. What I love about this message is we get to choose… We get to decide each day how we want to spend 1440 minutes in 24 hours. Do we want to spend it doing good for others or live in frustration and anguish? I bet for all of us who have been patients or loved ones of patients, we want every single person to be engaged and focused on making our experience one filled with compassion and high-quality care.

We found in our HealthStream benchmarking study on healthcare workforce engagement, that leaders are three times more engaged than their direct reports. We have to find ways to create daily inspiration and reconnect our teams to purpose. Here are a few ideas to create engagement despite our distractions.

Put excellence on a pedestal

Seek out what is working well. Begin each staff meeting with thanksgiving, reward, and recognition. Ask team members about moments made them proud. Ask patients what has made their visit or stay excellent? Get specific details so you can share with your team. There are plenty of times to address areas of improvement for quality, patient experience, and financial performance. Try your best to create environments where you build on your bright spots while you close gaps in other areas.

Obtain and share stories

In my interview with Win Howard, Win talks about the profound experiences that have impacted his leadership in creating a more patient-centered culture at Asante. Win is an accomplished CEO with high levels of employee engagement and patient experience outcomes, designations for patient quality, yet when he speaks about the moments that have created the most memorable experiences, they are ones of care and compassion- especially at the most difficult times.

Create visual cues and contagious experiences

Keeping focused amidst distraction requires attention, yet when you enlist others you get a contagious movement. Enlist your teams to have compassionate scavenger hunts. Take pictures using your mobile device to bring back examples from your daily activities or life outside of work (of course in compliance with your digital and social technology policies).

As we move into the last month of the year, let’s make demonstrable gains to restore engagement and put the culture we want at the forefront. There is no time to wait until this becomes a New Year’s resolution.

To request the full report of HealthStream’s Benchmarking Study please visit my Contact page.