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Create exceptional healthcare with deep meaning, intent

Posted Sep 11 2013 2:30pm

by Scott Kashman

Do you ever ask yourself this question: Do you know who you are and what you are creating in your organization? My friend John likes to ask me this quite often. It always pushes me to think deeper, in a more mindful manner. Am I being intentional in my choices, clear on the desired outcomes and direct on expectations? Is our team doing the same?

Last evening, I met with a few co-workers, a couple of their spouses and Yosaif August, a renowned author who designed Bedscapes--a scenic design tied in with music that helps create a more healing environment. August was here to celebrate our Women's Care-Birthing Suites' 25th anniversary. He developed an updated model with recycled soda bottles and utilized local pictures taken by Jenny, one of our social workers. We call it Bedscapes 7.0. It is has a stronger meaning and intent than just a design and music.

What made this dinner interesting were the group's seriousness, playfulness and connectivity. While we all know each other at varying levels, it was amazing to see the strong bond and energy this group had collectively. We had three nurses, a life coach, a musician and a hospital administrator around the table.

Throughout the dinner, we discussed the significance of 9/11, now 12 years later. This was such a tragic day and one that brought together so many from around the nation and even the world towards a shared vision, a shared purpose, a shared time of healing.

On this tragic day's anniversary, we are utilizing it as a day of healing and advancing our optimal healing efforts. We never lose sight of our core values--safety and care for our patients and families. We are mindful to all aspects of the patient experience as well as our fiduciary obligations. This can only happen with everyone's engagement and commitment to who we are and what we stand for as an organization.

Brian, one of my other colleagues shared that if people want to work for a soda company, then they should drink that soda and stand behind the product. If people work in healthcare and our organization, then culturally they should feel connected with our strong commitment to a well-balanced, person-centered healing environment.

Many people want to come to work, check in, do their job and check out. That will bring us to good. Getting to exceptional is tiring but much more rewarding. We constantly strive to get a higher percentage committed to this mindset. As August pointed out, we have 1,000 people who volunteer their time. That is a true reflection of commitment. With our volunteers and about 1,500 employees and physicians, it's amazing to see the work and culture we create when a higher percentage of the team is committed to the shared vision and purpose.

We are intentionally creating an environment for people to heal and thrive. The Bedscapes 7.0 provides one more tangible example of helping our caregivers and families connect with our patients and even each other.

See, over the years, I have heard people say we keep taking caregivers away from the bedside. Unfortunately, many have forgotten the art of just talking to patients as people not just seeing them as a patient.

The Bedscapes 7.0 design and complimenting music help foster a dialogue to just talk with one another and get back to the core of why we are in healthcare--to help others heal. My grandfather had a brain tumor years ago and I remember staring at him wondering what to say. Jenny, my wife finally turned to me and said talk to him ... like he's your grandfather. So obvious, and yet I needed that encouragement and simple reminder.

Who pushes you to be exceptional? Who pushes you to create something deeper and more meaningful? For me, our journey is always meaningful although many times not comfortable. What a dinner ... thanks to Yosaif, Wendy, Joany, Brian, Nancy and Johnny boy for pushing us to the next level as a learning environment.

Scott Kashman serves as the Chief Administrative Officer of Cape Coral Hospital, part of the Lee Memorial Health System in southwest Florida.

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