With all the reports of health care delivery being bottom line driven, it is reassuring to know that hospitals across the country are seeing the value of nurturing their own, with workshops and inspirational books that encourage reflection, self-care and compassion.
Leaving behind an era where ‘time is money’ and performance excellence is measured by the number of times blood pressure is taken or medication is delivered, health care professionals are now being encouraged to see each patient as a person rather than as “that heart case.” By viewing a patient as someone’s mother, sister or daughter, a human connection is forged, hastening recovery for the patient and deepening meaning for the caregiver.
In January, the American Journal of Nursing (AJN), the oldest nursing publication, named a book of inspirations as its 2008 Leadership and Management Book of the Year. Not a book on how to do more with less or how to manage to the bottom line, but a ‘leadership and management’ book that teaches health care profesionals to pause and reflect, awaken to their lives and make a deeper human connection with patients, families and colleagues.
The book, Healing with Heart: Inspirations for Health Care Professionals, by Martin Helldorfer, D. Min. and Terri Moss, is a series of vignettes in real-life hospital settings designed to demonstrate how a positive work climate along with inner reflection can impact the lives and health of others.
As the one judge noted in her review, “These short essays reconnect us with the deeply-felt purpose of our work and remind us of its sacredness and the tremendous gift our work is for those who receive our caring, as well as for the professionals delivering the care.”
Hospitals understand that the bottom line in health care isn’t reached simply by pulling back on expenses or shrinking salaries. Attracting health care professionals to a hospital — keeping them and orienting them — costs money, too. Any effort at creating a cohesive and caring team is sure to pay dividends.
Most important of all, patients will benefit if they are treated by health care professionals who are aware and grateful that the work they are performing is sacred, meaningful and fulfilling in their life’s purpose.
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