What does a good day at work look like for you? What do we need to do to increase those experiences? What’s a bad day? How do we decrease those experiences? These are the kinds of questions I’ll be asking you over the coming months as part of our values refresh. I like to think about this as coming clean and being honest with ourselves about what makes our system a great place to work and when it isn’t as good, why? It’s also important that we stretch our conversations to include our colleagues who work in primary and community-based organisations – they are part of our patient’s experience of healthcare. So what do values have to do with patient safety and quality of care?
“The systematic neglect of culture in health and health care is the single biggest barrier to the advancement of the highest standard of healthcare worldwide.”
This is a quote from the Lancet, a respected international medical journal talking about, of all things… culture and values! It’s simple to me – if patients’ experiences are positive and engaging, we get a lot of satisfaction as health professionals. If we are better engaged as staff and supported in our workplace by our colleagues, we deliver better patient experiences. These things drive quality of care improvement.
Here is a link to the slides we discussed as an Executive Leadership Team, when we discussed the importance of values. In particular, check out the ‘wordles’ of what our patients complain about and compliment us on. You will see these graffiti boards around the site. Are these the words that you want patients to use to describe us? There is also a list of references that may be helpful for those of us who need a bit more evidence on how values and culture contribute to improving quality of care.
We all come to work with a lifetime of experience (at any age!) including a work and clinical practice background that shape how we think, behave and react to what goes on around us. Most of our healthcare is delivered as teams – are we treating each other in our teams as well as we would like? I have seen amazing examples of our staff giving the best care and respect to their patients because they genuinely care and are professionals. Some of these moments I have blogged about in the past. The Team Counties blog also shares some of these insights directly from the people doing the work.
I’m also aware of examples where our patients don’t experience the best care – in fact I often hear directly from our patients when we don’t! We sometimes behave towards each other in ways that do not reflect our existing values of teamwork, professionalism and partnership – again, I often hear directly from staff at all levels of the organisation! Now I’d like us to talk to each other across the organisation and the system…. that’s what this process is about.
A good day at work for me is when I see you – my colleagues – being really proud and excited about the work you do. I feel especially proud when I hear from patients and their whaanau/families that they can participate positively in their lives because of the great care we provided. A good day at work for me is when I hear honest feedback from people about what we could do better. So let’s get talking.
P.S. For those of you wondering why I am writing my blog while on leave, it’s not because I cut my holiday short. I managed to write this before I left. Enjoy!
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