Archive for the ‘Transforming Health Care’ Category

It is not about Me; It is about the Patient, the Customer, the Client

November 18th, 2009

What will it take for us to learn that employees, regardless of position need to be on the same page? That principals, teachers, admin support and the school janitor are working for the same purpose? That the CEO, directors, IT personnel, finance officers and front-line staff are all needed for the company to be successful? That patients need doctors, nurses, and technicians to work together for their wellbeing?

Last month, I wrote about the report “For Patients’ Sake,” written by Tony Dagnone, Saskatchewan’s Patient First Review Commissioner. The key message of his review was to put patients first. The Commissioner recommended a health care system designed to make the patient the centre of care and not the people who deliver the care – as he says it currently is.

 In the United States, the Joint Commission, a non-profit, independent group that accredits and certifies 17,000 health care organizations, created zero-tolerance policies in regards to intimidating and disruptive behaviours between medical staff.  Now a year later, the American College of Physician Executives has just released the results of a national survey of 13,000 physician and nurse executives. Bad behaviour still exists and it is still having a negative effect.

As reported on the American Medical News site, the findings renew questions about how to deal with issues arising from the doctor / nurse relationship. The results also point to the lack of effect of the zero-tolerance policies.

Practically all (97%) of respondents experienced unprofessional outbursts and overreactions. Some experienced this several times a year, whereas others experienced it weekly. Degrading comments and insults, yelling, cursing, and inappropriate joking were at the top of the list.  Some refused to work or speak with a colleague, whereas others tried to get someone unjustly disciplined or fired. Adults were throwing objects, spreading rumors. Sexual harassment was identified.

This is from a group of professionals who took the Hippocratic Oath or chose a career because they wanted to be of service to others. What happened?

To me, there is more to be concerned about than compliance to a zero-tolerance policy. Something has gone very wrong. And we know that simply telling someone to change their behaviour is not going to change it.

What would happen if we put the patient first? Truly put the patient first? If we remembered why we went into this profession in the first place? If we got to the heart of what matters about our work? If we started to see our work as an act of service? If we adopted the attitude that our work is about the patient, and not us? If we became interested in and supportive to our colleagues?

What would happen if our leaders and management focused on inspiring us, rather than disciplining us? If they really heard what we are up against? If they supported us to put the patient first? If they supported and recognized the team? If they saw their work as serving the medical profession?

Everything would change. Behaviour would change instantly. Patient care would improve over night. Relationships would develop and grow.

I have been researching and promoting spirit at work – that sense that our work is engaging and meaningful and that we can make a difference through our work – for a decade. Not only can we increase spirit at work, as it goes up, so too does job satisfaction, organizational commitment, teamwork and morale. At the same time, absenteeism and turnover go down.

The Spirit at Work program has been implemented in health care with incredible results. Download the Promise of Spirit at Work: Increasing Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment and Reducing Turnover and Absenteeism in Long-term Care from http://www.kaizensolutions.org/publications.htm

This does not have to be the experience in health care and patients should be able to expect more.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com and www.amazon.com .

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Inspired Leadership, Seeing Work as an Act of Service, Spirit at Work Program, Transforming Health Care | Comments (2)

Finding Meaning in Health Care Leads to Increased Job Satisfaction

November 11th, 2009

Nowhere is it more important to find meaning in one’s work than in health care. The emotional stress experienced by health care employees to provide quality of care during times of staff shortages and administrative demands to perform with fewer resources is taking its toll. The demands of the health care environment have resulted in the need for nurses to find coping mechanisms to decrease the stresses of their work. One such way is to find meaning and fulfillment in their work.

The literature suggests that nurses are most fulfilled when they feel they are making a difference in the lives of others, when they are able to complete a job to the best of their ability, and when they are helping other people learn.

I have found that not only does finding meaning and fulfillment in one’s work – something I call spirit at work – take the bite out of stress, it contributes to a sense of well-being, increases job satisfaction and commitment to one’s work and organization. At the same time, absenteeism and turnover goes down. All of which are good for the employee, the patient, and the bottom line.

The research of Rhonda Bell, PhD, Health Care Management Consultant provides additional support. Rhonda examined the relationship between spirituality and job satisfaction among registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. She had hoped to gain an understanding of the relationship between the elements of spirituality (purpose and meaning in life, innerness or inner resources, unifying interconnectedness, and transcendence) and job satisfaction (general job satisfaction, intrinsic satisfaction, and extrinsic satisfaction) levels among nursing professionals.         

As expected, Dr. Bell’s research showed a significant correlation between spirituality and job satisfaction. The more nursing staff felt that they had purpose and meaning in their life, had inner resources to draw upon, and experienced a sense of connection and transcendence, the more satisfied they were with their work.  

The relationship between spirituality and intrinsic job satisfaction was even stronger which suggests that nurses may be more satisfied with the intrinsic factors of job satisfaction when they are more spiritually oriented.

So how can we apply these findings in health care?

Employee retention is key to resolving the nursing shortage issue. Introducing a spirit-at-work program will go a long way to reconnecting nurses to their work, the patient, their colleagues, and their organizations. How? We take employees through a process of rethinking their work. The program helps them to find meaning and fulfillment by getting to the deeper purpose of their work. Discovering how they make a difference in the lives of others. Developing a sense of community with their colleagues where they feel that they belong and share a common purpose. Connecting to something larger than self.  That is spirit at work and when we experience it, everything changes.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at http://www.kaizensolutions.org/. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at http://www.rethinkingyourwork.com/.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Creating organizational conditions, Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work, Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Purpose and Meaning In Work, SAW and Organizational Outcomes, Transforming Health Care | Comments (3)

For Patients’ Sake: What would happen if we all put the patient, client or customer first?

November 2nd, 2009

Have we lost our way? Have we forgotten why we entered our profession in the first place?  Why our organizations were created? Current research on engagement and commitment at work says ‘yes’. We are losing our satisfaction and joy at work; our organizations are struggling; and our patients, clients, and customers are not receiving the service they deserve. What would happen if we adopted a Patient First or Client First or Customer First philosophy?

In October, the Government of Saskatchewan released “For Patients’ Sake,” a report by Tony Dagnone, Saskatchewan’s Patient First Review Commissioner. This review was commissioned by Don McMorris, the Minister of Health with the intent to improve both the patient experience and the efficiency and effectiveness of the health system.

The key message of the review is to put patients first. The Commissioner recommends a health care system designed to make the patient the centre of care and not the people who deliver the care – as he says it currently is. Thus, the first recommendation is that the Saskatchewan health system makes patient- and family-centred care the foundation and principal aim.

Tony Dagnone says,

“Patient First” must be embedded as a core value in health care and ingrained in the “DNA” of all health care organizations. The health system has lost its focus on the patient and lost sight of the fact that health care is a service industry. The best interests of patients and families must be the primary driver of policy decisions, collective agreements, priority setting and resource allocation decisions, and the operation of workplaces.

The intention is to make the Patient First philosophy a reality in all work places. But where does one start?

What is important here is that one does start. It is time for action, not words. Start with the employees, the leaders and the organization. Start everywhere. Create a momentum. Here are some places to start:

Organization. Design strategies to strengthen the capacity to achieve a patient-centred organization. Communicate the patient first philosophy to every member of the organization and in every document. Get leaders on board. Create Patient’s First Filter and test every decision or policy against it. Evaluate the effectiveness of all initiatives. Recognize and reward a patient first philosophy. Walk the talk.

Leaders. Inspire your leaders.  Have a clear vision and mission. Teach leaders how to inspire their managers and staff. Reward a patient first philosophy. Build your teams with this shared purpose. Evaluate your leaders against the Patient First Filter.  Support them.

Employees. Engage employees. Foster their spirit at work. Create the conditions for them to put the patient first. Help them to reconnect with the deeper purpose of their work and see their work as an act of service. Reward a patient first philosophy. Build their teams with this shared purpose. Listen.

The Commissioner sums up this new direction by stating that “Patient First” cannot be a mere lapel pin, button, or logo; it must be a way of doing business…

What would it take to have a renewed commitment to putting the patient or client or customer first?

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

Tags: For Patients’ Sake, Tony Dagnone, Val Kinjerski, Don McMorris, Patient First, customer service, Patient First Review Commissioner, spirit at work, inspired leadership, service, employee engagement

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Creating organizational conditions, Inspired Leadership, Seeing Work as an Act of Service, Transforming Health Care | Comments (4)