31.7.07

Learning the Ropes - Back to Basics

I have to apologize for the extended absence - these past three weeks I've been busy learning the ropes at a new job.

We provide health care, 3 squares a day, and various other body-and-soul-sustaining treatments to men (and a few women) without homes. This afternoon we had a Ping-Pong tournament. Thursday I'll visit the Poetry group.

I've seen a lot in the past 3 weeks.

This may just be the understatement of a lifetime.

Going from hashing out concierge care plans with hospital execs to chowing down on lunch served cafeteria-style to a group of patients who call our treatment facility home is an eye-opening experience.

This is the kind of job (and maybe some of you can identify) where you don't change the job - the job changes you.

While I won't blog about specific patients, I will blog about what the group and certain individuals are teaching me.

I will blog about how a genuine smile that crinkles the corners of your eyes can change someone's day. How bestowing a nickname is a right of passage.

I will blog about how showing you care by holding open the door, standing and talking to someone out in the halls (despite your own feelings of inadequacy and/or embarrassment) and sharing your experiences matters more than you can believe to your coworkers, your patients.

I will blog about how there are places that reawaken the idealist inside.

There are places in the healthcare community that are giving, literally, all they have to make a patient's health their primary concern.

So what are your primary concerns?

On a day-to-day basis, what are you doing to show staff and patients that THEY are your mission?

The writing can certainly be posted on the wall (who we are and who we serve looks pretty typed and framed in the hall) - but are these words the only thing expressing the meaning of who you are, who you serve? Is this attitude of service ingrained in every action?

There are a thousand things competing daily for your attention. Minor and major projects line up one after the other in a never-ending queue.

The essential question is this: Which of these "priority" projects truly serve your patients? Which of these serve your administration? Which of these serve an internal need to achieve? To succeed on a personal/professional level?

Make no mistake - we are in the service business. If, as a healthcare administrator, patient service is not your primary concern, perhaps your priorities are out of order.

Get to work a few minutes early.

Hold the door for someone tomorrow morning.

Smile, ask how their day is going. If no one is there immediately as you enter, wait outside. Look around. Think about what you're doing there, and why.

When someone arrives for work, maybe running late, thinking about the day ahead, comment on the weather or any other mundane thing to get the conversation going.

You may just learn what sustains another person - and that's what healthcare is all about - things that sustain us - body and mind.

I'm relearning the ropes, and finding my former list of "must do's" had a whole lot to do with my goals and very little do with my patients.

Which of your goals are self-centric and which are patient-centric?

Reorganize that to-d0 list and you may just be surprised at how getting back to basics streamlines the number of things you "must do" today.

2 comments:

Dan said...

I found this a much more enjoyable read. Glad to hear the new job is turning out so well for you.

Dan said...

Enjoyed this post a lot more than some of the others. I think this approach to life and career is one that everyone should adopt.