Blog

Lessons from Irma

Thank you all for your kind support over the past couple of weeks. Irma packed a wallop on the entire state of Florida.  She was unpredictable in her exact path and her girth was so wide she reached from the Atlantic to the Gulf, wider than any hurricane ever to set an eye on the shores our Sunshine State. She left only the far western tip of the panhandle untouched by her fury.

The lessons Irma provided were valuable and I hope to keep them alive much longer than it takes to rebuild from her destruction. What do you take with you when you fear your home might be severely damaged or destroyed? I have often thought about this, photos, letters, mementos, clothes?  I discovered, when it came right down to it, there wasn’t much I needed.

My responsibility was to be sure my 93-year-old mother in law was safe and out of harm’s way so we flew to Nashville, a wonderful city with generous people and wonderful food! I had a few hours to pack before we left and wondered...

Continue Reading...

Harry 8/18/17

  Image Above: Beach sand magnified 250 times

  Last time, I wrote about the importance of taking a moment and “taking a knee” to acknowledge the human being in our care; of looking beyond the chart, if you will, to honor our common humanity. It’s easy to lose sight of that when care providers are running on empty, overwhelmed and skating on the edge of frustration as so many do. And yet, we too are only human, and some days, that doesn’t feel like enough. I’d been thinking a lot about that this past week – and then this poem found its way into my inbox, sent along via a friend. Coincidence? I think not.

            It takes the words of someone as thoughtful and caring as Heidi O’Neil to remind us of the profound and – yes - holy nature of what we undertake in caring for the dying, and to remind us how much they give us in the process.  They are our teachers.

...

Continue Reading...

Take a Knee

Image Above: Dr Ariel Malamud and Patti on a hike with the Alembic Institute group outside Santa Fe, NM

A recent email from my physician friend Dr. Ariel Malamud, a Gastroenterologist in a large metropolitan health system resonated powerfully with me, and I wanted to share it with you, with his kind permission.

He begins by describing how moved he was when, during his daughter’s lacrosse game after a player was injured, the members of both teams silently took a knee and focused on the injured player while she was tended to by the medics and referees. He goes on to say,

“…The practice of medicine has an important challenge: the physician must attend to the needs of the sick using acquired knowledge and experience and updated skills without lacking the sensitivity to kneel mentally for the hurt human being…

Many health systems promote this with inspirational conferences once in a while. There is a need to rather make it part of the institutional culture. And...

Continue Reading...

The Greatest Leadership Skill? Inspiration

Image Above: From the Kaiser Philanthropy Institute, design by Christy Whitney

Courage, passion, commitment, communication, humility – these make every list of critical leadership skills, and they’re certainly required in abundance of anyone who leads or manages in hospice. But to me, the most important gift is the ability to inspire and motivate those around you. Why? Hospice work is demanding, physically and emotionally – but patients and their families need you to bring 100% of your skills, compassion, and stamina to work every day. Keeping our people inspired to be their best, most compassionate selves requires us to model that behavior – to walk the walk – in how we deal with them.

 How do you inspire? By remembering why you’re there, and sharing that why with your staff; by getting out of your office and into the field; by being a mentor more than a taskmaster, and sharing stories of staff successes.

What’s Your Story? If someone...

Continue Reading...

When Nurses "Eat Their Young"

Have you heard the term "nurses eat their young"? Generally, that phrase describes the rough treatment new nurses are subjected to by more experienced peers when we enter the profession, but sometimes in my work I’ve seen it used as a management style. It’s counterproductive, it’s damaging, it undermines both the worker and the work – and it needs to stop.

I'm not sure what it is about some nurses or supervisors who believe that continually focusing on what people do wrong will motivate an improvement in skills or behavior. Perhaps it is the scientific perfectionist in them that has no tolerance for mistakes. Maybe that’s the way they themselves were disciplined or trained, so it’s the only management style they know. For myself, I know I’ve always learned best when I've been encouraged - even when I made a mistake - rather than berated for what I did wrong. I believe that’s true of most of us.

I’m not suggesting that stern...

Continue Reading...

The Purpose- Driven Employee

The Predictive Index’s Matt Poepsel recently wrote about the major human capital trends that will shape the coming year in hiring, defining “human capital” as, “…the collective value of the knowledge, skills, creativity, and other factors of any group of people performing work”.

What does today’s workforce look like, as seen through this lens? For one thing, it’s more diverse than ever in age, race, and gender. Even as the Millennials come on board, workers from the boomer generation are staying on the job longer than previously. Minorities and women are gaining ground. Employers are going to be more tuned in to the demands and desires of employees, who are less likely to stay at a single job than previous generations. Organizations themselves are increasingly flatter, more democratized, and more flexible, further reflecting what their employees value, and are offering expanded learning opportunities to employees looking to...

Continue Reading...

My Hospice Journey

Image above: The Hospice of North Central Florida team in the late 1980’s!

The recent 50th anniversary of the founding of the modern hospice movement by Dame Cicely Saunders made me think about my own journey in hospice, and how it began.

Back in 1977 I attended a lecture by Dr Elizabeth Kubler Ross., who had come to Orlando to talk about her groundbreaking work. I was tremendously inspired by what I heard, and determined to become a part of the hospice movement. In 1983 I got my chance, becoming Executive Director of a tiny hospital-based hospice in Gainesville, Florida.

Our office was a remodeled elevator shaft, a windowless space with walls that were 2 feet thick. When I started, we had three staff members (two of whom were part time), fifteen volunteers, and five patients. We didn’t charge fees; it was a free service offered by our community hospital, Alachua General. It came about through a coalition of the communities, ministers, physicians, volunteers, hospital...

Continue Reading...

WWDCD?

Image Below: All dressed up for the NHPCO Gala recently: Christy Whitney, Jan Jones NHPCO Board Chair, Edo Banach NHPCO CEO ,Patti Moore, Mrs.Banach

What Would Dame Cicely Do?

That was the question posed to attendees at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's Management and Leadership Conference in Washington DC by the incoming President and CEO, Edo Banach recently.  He told us NHPCO's focus will be bringing value to members and focusing on innovation. We were reminded of milestones reached this year; the 35th anniversary of the Medicare Hospice Benefit and the 50th anniversary of St Christopher’s Hospice in London, where the modern-day hospice movement began under Dame Cicely Saunders.  And we were asked to consider “WWDCD” - What Would Dame Cicely Do?  What would she do now, 50 years later?

Holding tightly to the old paradigms isn’t a viable option. Hospice organizations must find ways to identify what patients, families,...

Continue Reading...

Nurses Rock!

I am a nurse.  I still define myself as a nurse, even though I have not tended to a patient in that role for many years.  I renew my license every two years (just in case this consulting gig doesn't work out), and I still think like a nurse in terms of how I assess nearly all situations: What is the problem, what are the contributing factors, and what are the options for solutions? What action is the best for all concerned, and how can I protect the dignity of the patient (or in my case, my client), while respecting their choices and decisions, and hold in confidence all information entrusted to me?

This is the one week a year we set aside to acknowledge the women and men who accept the (updated) version of the Florence Nightingale Pledge, which says in part, "I...pledge to care for the sick with all my skill and the understanding I possess, without regard to race, creed, color, politics or social status, sparing no effort to preserve quality of life, alleviate suffering...

Continue Reading...

Let's Celebrate Volunteers!

Image Above: Hospice of the Western Reserve's volunteer Walk to Remember 2017

It’s National Volunteer Week; and time to celebrate! This past week, I was in Cleveland working with the Hospice of the Western Reserve.  They held two banquets celebrating their 3,000 remarkable volunteers.  The speaker was local Clevelander, Alex Sheen, founder of “Because I Said I Would” movement for the “…betterment of humanity through promises made and kept”.  HWR realizes their volunteers play an enormous role in the success of their organization and offer volunteer opportunities in many, many areas of their organization.

What are our volunteer’s worth? According to a recent report by the nonprofit coalition, Independent Sector, more than 63 million Americans volunteered about 8 billion hours, which would equate to about $193 billion based on that hourly value. In Hospice, we literally could not do what we do without their willing and...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.