For years, I have been blessed with opportunities to teach heart and mind communication in healthcare.
And I am often reminded of one session in particular …
In the conference room there were folks from nursing, human resources, housekeeping, transportation and many other areas all seeking to both earn a living and make a difference in the lives of others.
As I taught, I noticed a young woman from housekeeping nodding and smiling. (Having started out in housekeeping myself I have a strong affinity for these folks who work so hard to keep all safe — “Infection control begins and ends with housekeeping!”).
And then she shared, “I love my patients. I love cleaning their rooms because I know in doing so, I keep them safe. I love hearing my patients’ stories. And I love when they remember me.”
This housekeeper truly understood her organization’s mission (the target set out by the board and leadership) and was living her (and their) values. She was engaging, she was connecting and she was impacting.
“I always tell my patients that I love their unit, I love their nurses, how their nurse Linda took such good care for my brother … and I see in their eyes a change in their energy. They relax a bit,” my new friend in housekeeping continued. “I work with my supervisor and I work with my nursing unit brothers and sisters [nurses, medical assistants, and others] and together we go into action to truly care for our patients and families. We are all very busy but when we work together and agree to focus on the most important things we all benefit — and especially our patients and families.”
Healthcare leaders, respect your frontline staff as the caregivers they are. Honor them as such. Position them with clear goals (targets) and also position them with the resources they need to focus and be in appropriate and impactful action for others.
It is our responsibility to help them make the difference they seek to make. And when they do … we all benefit.