Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Staff talk about purpose

Here are some responses I received to the staff email presented below. I never know how my messages will be received or what reactions they will provoke. I can always count, though, on thoughtful engagement and a reaffirmation of the underlying values of our hospital.

Excellent example of actualization of purpose versus a mission statement not so well actualized. (Radiology)
I love it, thanks. I have always tried to live by, "Treat others as you would have them treat you" and have raised my children as my parents raised me. My daughter now works as fitness trainer working with the elderly (many of whom remind her of her now deceased grandparents) and my son found his passion working to integrate those with special needs. To know that I work for such a special organization makes coming to work even more enjoyable.

Working with women in OB/GYN, I try to treat each on as I would want my mother, sister, or daughter treated. It makes no difference to me when I am informed that a patient is a doctor or wife of one. No one gets special treatment, because I feel everyone that comes here gets SPECIAL treatment!
I have always believed by giving some control back to the patient, it helps eliminate high anxiety and make the patient feel respect. Thank you for your thoughts. (Med/Surg)
As a nurse on labor and delivery I just wanted to say that was a wonderfully put statement. As you know we on L&D form very strong emotional bonds with our patients and their families sometimes repeatedly with additional children . We form a certain kind of interdependence relying on each other in a way that is truly unique. Thanks for the "heads up." We appreciate it, and it made total sense. Also made me smile.
Hi Paul...this is a great message from you, and I look forward to hearing more, as time goes on. You may remember several years ago when you hosted small groups for dinner, we spoke about treating patients as we would want our own families and loved ones to be treated. As part of my interviewing process, since I began in this position, I have always referenced that message. What I tell applicants (and anyone else who will listen to me!!) is, "I need people who treat everyone, but I will concentrate on patients now, as they would want to be treated or how they would want their families or loved ones to be treated." If we don't do this, then when our time or their time rolls around, and it does roll around for all of us sooner or later, we have no right to expect more than we've given. And even if it feels like it isn't happening, that's okay, do it anyway because it's the right thing to do!

Your statement, "It is very different from the training received by doctors, and even that received by many nurses. Beyond being respectful, empathetic, and compassionate, it requires us to be ever modest about our knowledge and in our demeanor."

This is key! Until and unless we all recognize and appreciate that we all need the next person in order to be successful, to make the clock tick, we will never rise to the level we otherwise might. The surgeon needs the housekeeper to clean the OR, the housekeeper needs the equipment to accomplish the work, the manager needs a strong staff, and on it goes. I have always believed that no one is more important than the next, and that, in medicine, patients must be listened to with great attention; if not, we've lost a great deal in the process and will never reach the heights that we are capable of reaching - together. The crush is on in health care, all around! (Gastroenterology)
Thank you very much for sharing with us the airline industry story. it is so true that we can never forget what we are working at BIDMC for. We are here to carry a big mission in delivery -- the best and safe care for our patients and their families.

We should never forget how lucky we all are that we are not standing the other side in needing that care but using our skill and knowledge in helping the others. (Peri-Operative Services)
I was thinking precisely the same things about airlines and customer service as I flew back to Boston on a crowded flight on Saturday. I always check Southwest first, not because they're necessarily cheaper, but because I like their ethic, and the tension on other airplanes due to carry-on baggage simply doesn't exist there.

Not too long ago, I asked a flight attendant at another airline how they coped with the increased carry-ons. She surprised me by saying that their cabin crew were not actually logged in as "at work" until the flight took off. Any arranging of bags and assisting of passengers before take-off was quite literally done on their own time. So, apparently, it's the customers and the staff who are suffering from the checked-bags policy.

Compare that with our ethic here at BIDMC - treating patients "as we would like ourselves and our families to be treated". This is so often the way to make the patient experience simpler, more efficient, and crucially - more welcoming. A motivated staff understand and agree with the reasons for doing what they do. That's a large part of what we Mystery Shoppers encourage among our terrific front-line BIDMC staff.

Thanks for a thought-provoking message. (Ambulatory Services)


BM said...

A question we all have in healthcare, how to inculcate the concept of treating patients, and each other, in the way we would want to be treated?

Is it cultural, how we are raised, innate, or can it be learned?

Every time I call credit card companies, cable, telephone, you can hear the scripting that takes place

Even after a tough discussion you get "is there anything else I can do for you" are they looking in a mirror to see if they are smiling?

stop smoking help said...

Before I left my previous hospital, our HR dept. started a program to help us managers sort through applicants. They were given a short personality test which was graded and sent to us. It would either have a grade A, B, or C on it. I was really amazed at how the A applicants were much more in tune with how I felt my staff should approach their patients. They were much more engaged, sympathetic, etc.

Curious if your hospital sorts through applicants in a similar manner?