Be More YOU. Now.
All my life it feels like I have been peeling back layers of illusion, guardedness, and disguise to reveal my true self to myself. Once again, asking the most important and most difficult question, “who am I”. All in the quest to be my more true and honest self.
The world has turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people are tossing it off as an annoyance, not following ‘stay at home’ guidelines complaining about being bored. Some are following the rules and are frightened about losing their job, while most parents have a new appreciation of the critical role teachers have in their children's lives.
Then there are the saviors, my friends the superheroes, who are smack in the middle of this horrific event, the front-line health care workers. Nurses and doctors and others who are seeing this Pandemic through the lenses of scuba goggles, bandanas, homemade masks, and gowns, or if they are lucky, outfitted with the...
When We Give a Little Too Much
“It’s better to give than receive”: As noble an ideal as that is, there’s a limit to giving that too many of us involved in caregiving choose to ignore. Where does it lead us?
Those of us in healthcare and other service fields have been taught that giving is honorable and receiving is selfish. So, we give of our time, our money, our wisdom, our ideas and our love without restriction or any overt expectation of return. It feels so good to give, seeing the smiling and grateful faces of those we serve is the reward in itself.
But what about the other side of that equation? What happens when it’s time to receive? Is receiving as easy and pleasurable as the giving side? Very often the answer is no. We are taught to continually push past our limits, that asking for help is a sign of weakness. When we are given a compliment or accolades for a job well done, our automatic reply is “it was nothing” and deflect the gift....
THE VIEW FROM THE EXAM TABLE
When was the last time you found yourself on the patient end of a healthcare interaction? While I wouldn’t recommend it, it’s certainly an educational experience, and one every one of us in healthcare could probably benefit from. A minor procedure recently renewed my perspective on what the view is like from the other side of the exam table, and I’m beginning to think that seeing it that way is something we all need a refresher course in occasionally.
When you’re a patient or a member of the patient’s family, anxiety is common You’re often nervous, unsure about what’s to come, and fearful of making the wrong choice based on the amount of information you have. No amount of late-night visiting with Mr. Google can provide you with a conclusive answer, and in fact can leave you more confused or misinformed than you were to start out with. That’s bad enough when we’re talking about relatively minor...
OUR ENDANGERED NURSES AND DOCTORS: DEPRESSION, DENIAL, AND PTSD
As a nurse myself, I’ve been following with interest the ongoing conversation about a critical issue that has gone too long unaddressed; the crisis-level suicide rates of our nurses (and doctors, too).
A recent article on the MedPage website, Nurse Suicide: Under the Radar, used as an example the suicide of Dana, a bright, energetic and hard-working ER nurse. As bad as the heartbreak experienced by her colleagues was, even more damaging was the way in which their institution handled the emotional aftermath of this woman’s death. One section of that story struck me in particular:
“The department held a debriefing after Dana's death -- a meeting to allow hospital staff to discuss a critical event -- but it was only open to those who had directly cared for Dana as a patient….
Simpson broke down crying in the nurse's lounge when she was told she could not go. She had worked during Dana's memorial...
It’s National Nurses Week! I say, let’s pause to offer up a “thank you” to a nurse who made a difference in our lives – like the night nurse in the ICU who cared for my father and took time out to call me when he took a turn for the worse; “I just wanted you to know”, she said. Or the hospice nurse who was so kind and patient with my brother and me when we knew there was nothing more to do for Mom but be present in our love for her. Nurses make a difference.
Did you know that nurses have been the most trusted professionals in America for 17 straight years? In the 2019 national Gallup poll, 82% of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “high” or “very high.” Year after year, nurses are considered the most compassionate professionals over all other workers, even clergy and grade school teachers.
How can that be? In a world where trust and truth-telling are on the...
I’ve had a very busy summer consulting with hospices all across the US. In talking with administrators about their biggest worries, I heard one alarm sounded everywhere I went: Hospice is in the grip of a critical nursing shortage. Certainly, in some areas the problem is greater than in others, but make no mistake; recruiting the ideal experienced, compassionate, smart, flexible and dedicated hospice nurse (or social worker, for that matter) is more challenging by the day. As a board member of the University of Florida College of Nursing’s Alumni Council, I can tell you that the school cannot afford to admit more than 120 new undergraduates/year. The University of Delaware College of Nursing admits 136. Numbers like these will not begin to meet the burgeoning needs of the Baby Boomer generation as they age.
And it’s not just that new nurses aren’t entering the field at the rate we need them to; we’re losing those we have, nurses who are leaving the...
Bad bosses - they’re the inspiration for movie comedies, great literature (Charles Dickens and Shakespeare wrote more than a few) and hilarious dinner party stories. But there’s nothing funny about having a bad boss, much less being one. Bad managers drive good employees away, undermine their workplace’s success, and cost their organizations in dollars and lost institutional knowledge when those disgruntled team members move on.
Good managers rally their employees to strive toward a common goal, grow loyalty for their organizations, and get – and retain - the best of the best even in a competitive labor market. We all know them when we see them – but what exactly are the qualities that separate great managers from failed ones?
I am a Predictive Index Talent Management provider and I help clients put the right people in the right seat on their bus. Predictive Index World Wide set out to answer the question definitively in This comprehensive new...
Image above: Brian Blase, Special Assistant to the President on Healthcare Policy
I was in Washington D.C. recently for the winter meeting of members of the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation group. A vibrant lineup of speakers was there to share their insights on the current state of healthcare and hospice.
One surprise speaker was Brian Blase, Special Assistant to the President on Healthcare Policy. I admit it – I was initially skeptical of this young person who I assumed could not possibly have any meaningful insights about our work of caring for the frail and dying citizens. That’s what happens sometimes when we are “experts” in our field; too often, we’re not open to new ideas or others’ points of view, because, after all, we’re the ones with the years of experience and/or education and...
Whether or not we make New Year’s resolutions, most of us find ourselves looking for ways to improve as the new year arrives. If your goal for 2018 is to become an exemplary leader, here are some ideas to help you get there.
1. Support your staff: Hospice work can take its toll. When a staff member has had several deaths in a week, it has an emotional impact. Supporting one another is vital to maintaining emotional stamina. We must treat each other as we treat the patients and families we care for; with great respect, understanding and kindness. Most of all CARE. Care about the human beings offering the service you market, and care from your heart.
2. Get out of your office and interact with staff and patients and families: I get it – there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you have to do as a leader. But unless you have a ground-level view of how things are working (or not) in your organization, how can you manage effectively? The...
Time to warm up the crystal ball, and kick off the annual roundup of trends to watch in hospice for 2018. Some of them are encouraging; others we’re just going to have to grin and bear. Hopefully all of them will support us in the vital work we do as a new generation of people with different needs and expectations around the end of life experience become our patients.
Here’s what I and others see coming down the pike:
1. How we die – and where – will continue to change. The people we served in hospice used to be (and to some extent, still are) the Greatest Generation. But now the first wave of Baby Boomers are approaching the end of life, and their needs and wants are very different than those of their generally more stoic and matter of fact parents. We’ll see increasing demand for support for living – and dying – in place, as well as experimental and alternative therapies, spirituality, and new kinds of communities as the...