Diversity has many faces

How does your organization measure the success of the system’s diversity and inclusion efforts?  Do you look at the percentages of employees from ethnic groups?  Do you look at your patient base and the communities you serve?

Today, diversity has many faces!  The measure of success is determined by the health of the community the system serves. How prevalent are chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, asthma and more?  Are the morality and morbidity rates associated with those conditions greater within minority populations.

Diversity is about more than the color of one’s skin. According to Mike Supple, executive vice president of B.E. Smith, consider the following:

  • Racial/Ethnic including a plan to increase the ethnic, cultural and racial diversity of the senior leadership team
  • Gender – although 80% of the healthcare workforce is female, women remain underrepresented in the boardroom and C-suite
  • Generational – according to the Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion, millennial see diversity in terms of demographics/equal opportunity; their older colleagues define diversity as a mix of experiences, identities and ideas
  • Experiential – a diverse workforce comprised of professionals with different skills sets, including those without healthcare backgrounds, could add great value to an organization
  • Cognitive – requires innovation and collaboration

As healthcare professionals, our goal is to make a difference. We entered the healthcare space to make a difference in the lives of others.  “Others” is a global term, encompassing everyone, everywhere.  Make diversity a part of your strategic plan; walk the talk and avoid symbolic team members. Be authentic in your approach!  Yes, diversity has many faces; it is time to diversify!

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Who owns fatigue?

We are all stakeholders in the fatigue management process, and we all own it!

The employer can do much to shift the paradigm and create a culture of safety, wellness, and caring. Clear and compelling visions start us along a path of generating a future we deserve to have. In the healthcare setting, everyone assumes responsibility for patient safety and good outcomes.

Any employee is responsible for practicing healthy behaviors that reduce the risk for working while fatigued or sleepy, result in arriving to work alert and well rested, and promote a safe commute to and from work. This is true regardless of the industry in which one works! This responsibility might require that you reject a work assignment that compromises the availability of sufficient time for sleep and recovery from work – for example, when your shift ends at midnight, and you are expected to return to work, fully rested, by 7:00 a.m. We all have different recovery times. Our bodies and minds are unique, and this concept often involves scheduled shifts and mandatory or voluntary overtime. It is everyone’s responsibility to address one’s own, as well as co-worker, fatigue. Employees must be responsible and know their limits.

The system predicts the outcome, and the system must ensure positive outcomes for staff, clients, the public, and patients.

Attach a sense of urgency Partner with staff to ensure consistency of policy and procedures
Create a collaborative work environment Educate and empower staff
Identify the areas and practices that may result in staff fatigue Prioritize fatigue countermeasures and monitor effectiveness
Evaluate staffing and scheduling practices Offer opportunity for feedback and ideas for improvement
Engage staff in recruitment and retention activities and promote innovative strategies Follow the system

“I’m a workaholic, so I ignore the signs of fatigue and just keep going and going, and then conk out when I get home.

It can be pretty stressful.”  Keke Palmer

Who owns fatigue…we all do!

What’s your life purpose?

During the thirty-five plus years that I have devoted to being a nurse, I have interviewed many older adults (over the age of 65) about what has brought meaning and purpose to their lives. The specialty of home health nursing gave me the time and experience I needed to research this topic. Combining their wisdom with my studies in the fields of adult development and counseling psychology as a nurse practitioner, I offer my findings in this chapter. I would ask the question: “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?”

Recurrent themes were woven throughout all of the interviews. Many patients suggested that they would be more relaxed in order to avoid stress as well as take better holistic care of themselves, attending to their bodies, minds, and spirits. Self-reflection was another important theme as was their emphasis on building relationships and developing positive memories from their lives.

After asking my elderly patients these reflective questions over the years, I concluded that purpose naturally resides within each person’s soul. I observed that all people have a desire to contribute in life, but sometimes get lost along the way. Every one of us wants to leave footprints and feel that our lives have made an impact on the world.

I have found that life purpose is not simply our work lives, but a combination of all aspects of our lives that makes them fulfilling. Life purpose is what gives meaning to our lives and a reason why we are here on earth. Each individual life has a natural reason for being. From birth to death, each of us is on a quest to discover that reason. Many never do, yet our world is incomplete until each person discovers their own divine purpose.

Some questions you may ask yourself while getting in touch with your life purpose are: What gives your life meaning; what do you notice as the main themes in your life, and what is your contribution meant to be during your lifetime? In short, it is time to define and describe your life’s purpose!

 

Is a respite center needed in the work environment?

The author has consulted with global organizations to create respite centers within healthcare settings. Today’s work environment mandates providing respite centers in all industries.

A Hospital-Based Respite Center

Stress is overwhelming, and workplace stress has become a ‘given.’  We can overcome that stress by creating an internal respite center whose goal is to provide a safe, calm place in which nurses can regain momentum, renew spirit, and refresh themselves.  I’ve had the privilege of creating such centers in global locations; these are possible amenities:

  1. Comfort
  • Light
  • Air
  • Eye masks for dimming light
  • Healthy snacks
  • Healthy choices
  • Workout area including adjacent paths and exercise room on-site
  • Adjustable heating and ventilation
  • Noise levels controlled
  • Ergometrics
  • Room size approximately 30 x 30
  • 4 comfortable chairs with ottomans or recliners
  1. Amenities
  • Massage tables
  • Filtered water system
  • Control of lighting
  • Dark room as needed
  • Safe setting
  • Lockers
  • Showers nearby
  1. Consistent recognition and rewards for success
  • Attention, praise, and rewards are given for wellness achievements
  • Values placed on wellness
  • Values on lifestyle improvements/enhancements
  • PTO for achieving success
  • Wellness mentors/mentees
  • Peer modeling
  1.  Managers model healthy behaviors
  • Walk the walk and talk the talk
  • Weight management
  • Weight watchers on-site
  • Solidarity
  • Flexibility
  1. Ongoing health promotion
  • Consistency
  • Orientation for new students/staff
  • Participation 100%
  • Health calendar emphasis (national health holidays, i.e., diabetes, vision, heart, cancer)
  • Benefits of good health
  • Ease of access
  • Lifestyle changes

For additional information, contact info@smwgroupllc.com

Life Balance…it is what we do and who we are!

 

Entrepreneur or Employee…how many hours can you work?

Prior to her commitment to work/life balance, this registered nurse by education and passion, worked 100 hours per week, 3 countries per week until she missed a family event because of a flight delay in Eastern Europe. The plane had contraband on board, and the delay extended for 4 days.  She realized that she needed to shift her paradigm and ‘get a life.’  And that’s exactly what she did!

It is one thing for entrepreneurs to worlots-of-clocks-1725x810_28340_32673k excessive hours to ‘start-up’ and ‘succeed.’ It is another thing when your job involves working that many hours.

No one became an entrepreneur because of wanting to work less. In reality, entrepreneurs work an incredible number of hours—in excess of 60 a week. Even when entrepreneurs aren’t physically working, they are still thinking about their businesses.

The four-day workweek is nearly standard in the Netherlands, especially among working moms.

About 86% of employed mothers worked 34 hours or less each week last year, according to Dutch government statistics. Among fathers, about 12% also worked a shortened workweek.

Local laws promote a work-life balance and protect part-time workers. What a novel approach, and one that would work for all of us! A consistency when I worked in Eastern Europe was the maternity leave with your job held for you for over a year, including your title and salary.

Don’t do what I did…do what I say, and now do regularly. Create a schedule for yourself that includes downtime – time to be good to YOU!  Avoid being a workaholic, whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee.  Keep the balance…

Sharon Weinstein is the author of B is for Balance, 2nd edition, winner of 1st place in Consumer Health (2015).