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!
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!
Difficult people generate difficult work settings; a workplace may seem like a battlefield with a conflict at every turn in the road or within each department. Conflict is inevitable, and it does not mean that it is time to seek another job. Instead, remember that it takes two to tango. So, own your part in the disagreement so that you may move on. Allow a cooling off period. I recall a time at a prominent medical school in the Chicago area when one of the clinical chairs was a source of constant conflict. I found it beneficial to type a response, print it out, lock it in my drawer, and shred it the following morning. My assistant found it beneficial to hang a soft dartboard behind her door. In the center, she placed a headshot of the offender. She actually threw darts, removing them before leaving her office. It was extreme, but it gave her great relief from an otherwise confrontational situation. And then, address the issue and apologize as appropriate. Time does heal wounds as you both move ahead.
I had the privilege of presenting The Wages of Stress to attendees at the SpinCon2016 meeting in Fort Lauderdale on Monday! What an incredible learning audience; these were seasoned professional meeting planners whose jobs exude stress. They were especially interested in the price we pay for stress…the price of relationships, family, job, productivity, sleep, and overall health.
What is the dollar value of your stress, and is it worth it? Are you sacrificing quality time with family and friends due to work? Are you sacrificing relationships and your own health due to your commitments? Is your ‘to-do’ list overwhelming, and can it be converted into a ‘must-do’ list?
Don’t fall victim to stress; don’t let it become a fact of life for you! Don’t lose sleep and become fatigued due to stress. You will recognize fatigue; the most common effects associated with fatigue are-
- Lack of concentration
- Impaired recall
- Poor judgment
- Reduced ability to communicate with others
- Reduced fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
- Reduced visual perception
- Slower response times
Have I just described you, and how you are feeling? If yes, seek support…slow down…enjoy life to the fullest, and stress less! Thanks, SpinCon attendees, for the opportunity to share with you; I know that you know the triggers, and how to control them!
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 work 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).