(This is the second in an intended series on the Healthcare Ethos, be sure to Read the Ethos Definition.)
I have worked directly or indirectly for healthcare organizations for nearly 15 years. During this time I often ran internship or cooperative education programs and thus would have a steady stream of young people joining and leaving my teams. One of the ways I introduced a fresh-faced twenty-something to the world of healthcare was to give them this observation on their first day of work:
“Somewhere in this hospital (or organization), there is a small premature-baby weighing about as much as a pack of ground beef; and all he wants to do is take his next breath. Somewhere else is a little old lady surrounded by children and grandchildren who wants to take her last breath with dignity and respect. This is what we do for a living.”
I would go onto explain that while we may be doing budgeting, accounts payable or some other seemingly far removed work from that baby and beloved grandmother, we were still contributors to their well-being and journey in life.
As a result, I found that by explaining the Healthcare Ethos, my staff better understood our role, were better motivated and interested in the work at hand. This does not come without a warning about not abusing this emotional message however, but more on that in future blogs.