We recently held a yearly staff event I find especially gratifying. Our annual Employee Excellence Awards celebrates those employees whose attitude and performance best represent the values we strive to embody as a hospital.
Most hospitals seek to deliver excellent patient experience, but employee training and motivation programs alone are not enough to accomplish this. I find it grows from the culture of the organization. A decade ago, we developed a staff touchstone we call CREATING that stresses our values in action. It’s introduced during employee orientation and reinforced throughout the year.
CREATING is shorthand for the values we prize as a hospital – Compassion, Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Teamwork, Innovation, Nurturing and Guidance. Each year we recognize staff members at all levels who best embody these qualities, all of whom have been nominated by their peers.
CREATING has become an important organizational touchstone supporting the vibrant culture that makes our hospital a great place to work. We find that staff who embrace CREATING values enjoy their work more and work better together, which in turn influences how well they care for our patients. We see the results in both employee and patient satisfaction scores.
This year we created a short video on CREATING that features many of the current award winners. It’s on our website and I encourage you to take a look.
More recently, we have begun exploring new thinking about how to take these values to the next level. We are currently working with a consultant to incorporate thinking from a new approach to improving physician, staff and patient wellbeing called “Human Experience.”
The Human Experience approach encourages respectful, empathetic interactions that connect people to purpose, build trust, support resilience and ease suffering for all involved in healthcare – patients, families and care team members.
This approach emphasizes human interaction even more prominently in the healthcare mix. It’s a needed response to the reality that hospitals, physicians and staff are asked to daily manage multiple demands and outcomes in a quickly changing environment, experiencing pressures that can lead to burnout. Initiatives like these can help to prevent that.
One of the reasons I have enjoyed working in community hospitals over the years is because of the enhanced sense of caring and compassion that develops between the staff and physicians and the community – the attitude of treating patients like family. Initiatives like CREATING and Human Experience remind us that human values must be an essential part of hospital culture. Focusing on the wellbeing of both hospital team members and patients and their families will help to bring about the clinical and experiential outcomes that can transform healthcare.
In good health,
Sonoma Valley Hospital