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New Podcast Episode: Leading and Caring With Compassion with Kimberly Jarrelle
MARSHFIELD, WI — Oct. 6, 2021. Wisconsin’s Marshfield Clinic Health System and Wambi, a leader in healthcare culture transformation, announce a strategic enterprise partnership to transform Marshfield Health’s organizational culture through Wambi’s real-time patient and staff recognition platform. This cultural transformation aims to improve staff retention, increase health system engagement and recognition appreciation scores, increase staff performance awareness, and increase a sense of belonging and connectedness between patients and staff.
Marshfield Health is Wambi’s first system-wide deployment in Wisconsin. Wambi’s recognition platform supports Marshfield Health’s initiatives by elevating moments of meaningful connection to foster a positive workplace culture where care providers are appreciated and valued, and patients and their families are empowered to shape their experience. “What we’re focusing on is engagement and what we can do within our work environments in order to give individuals that break to let them know that we do care, and that we are behind them. Wambi shines a light on the small but important moments every person in our healthcare ecosystem contributes to the overall patient experience,” says Paula Pritzl, Chief Human Resources Officer. “This focus made it clear to us that Wambi was the right partner to help us amplify the voices of patients, coworkers, and leaders.”
“The Marshfield Health team shows a true dedication to achieving a culture of engagement and gratitude, which ultimately creates meaningful and sustained change,” says Rebecca Metter, CEO of Wambi. “We are proud that Wambi will play a role in bringing this vision to life.”
Health systems across the country are facing unprecedented retention challenges, with staff turnover nearly doubling in the past three years. Wambi helps improve these statistics through gratitude and recognition of the extended caregiver team—both intra-departmentally and cross-functionally. Says Metter, “Wambi is built on the power of gratitude from patients, peers, and leaders alike. We are delighted to help Marshfield Health’s workforce realize their positive and lasting impact.”
Marshfield Clinic Health System is an integrated health system whose mission is to enrich lives through accessible, affordable compassionate health care. The Health System serves Wisconsin with more than 1,400 providers comprising 170 specialties, health plan, and research and education programs. Primary operations include Marshfield Clinic, nine Marshfield Medical Center hospitals, Marshfield Children’s Hospital, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Security Health Plan and Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation. Learn more at marshfieldclinic.org.
Wambi’s holistic real-time recognition and culture transformation solution improves the healthcare experience for patients and staff through the power of gratitude. Gamified engagement technology delivers real-time feedback from patients and team members that recognizes and motivates optimal care. With the proven ability to increase workforce engagement, reduce clinician burnout, and drive higher patient satisfaction, Wambi improves human connection for all. Learn more at wambi.org.
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Reports touting the benefits of mindfulness are everywhere these days. Mindfulness is said to be a cure for pretty much everything that ails us: stress, anxiety, depression, pain, sleeplessness, poor memory, difficulty focusing, compassion fatigue, impaired immune function…the list goes on. And there is a corresponding proliferation of apps designed to support us through a healing mindfulness journey. This cacophony of offerings and purported benefits can be overwhelming, and induce a fair bit of skepticism as well.
Digging into the science of mindfulness, it turns out that some of these claims are very well supported. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program has over 40 years of accumulated evidence. Well-documented results include reduced emotional reactivity, improved ability to cope with stress, and increased ability to manage pain levels. Similarly, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy has been tied to reduced rumination and worry. Most encouraging to me is the evidence that certain mindfulness practices, like lovingkindness meditation, can increase compassion – both for self and others.
Over this past, very stressful 18 months, I’ve tried several different mindfulness techniques, and have found some to be incredibly challenging, and others to be very beneficial. I’ll share a few ideas below, with the caveat that everyone is different. Some of these might work very well for you, and others might not. Also, as with anything, you should speak with your doctor before beginning a mindfulness practice, as there is evidence of negative impacts for those suffering from certain mental health conditions.
Here are four types of mindfulness techniques to try:
S = Stop. When you feel yourself getting upset, agitated, anxious, etc., pause what you’re doing for a moment.
T = Take a few deep breaths. When we’re upset, our breathing gets shallow, and our blood pressure increases. Deep breathing can slow things down, creating a sense of calm.
O= Observe your experience, thoughts, and feelings. How are your emotions showing up in your body? What story are you telling yourself? As Mark Twain once said, “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” Our minds make up all sorts of stories, and not all of them serve us.
P = Proceed with something that will support you in the moment. You might need a break or something to eat. Or maybe a hug or conversation with a friend would be most helpful. Once we understand our experience and get the support we need, we can move forward with grace.
Exploring these and other mindfulness techniques may help you find a quick solution, or it may be a longer journey that allows you to get to know yourself better. I’ll admit that at the beginning of the pandemic I was skeptical about mindfulness because of the press and hype. Fortunately, through both research and personal trial and error, I’m now convinced that there is a mindfulness practice for everyone, and the benefits truly are transforming.
As our Product Evangelist, Mel brings over 13 years of experience to support the growth and development of Wambi’s sales team as they seek to help healthcare organizations create cultures of appreciation and kindness. She is committed to helping both her team and Wambi’s clients achieve their business objectives while living Wambi’s values of compassion, imagination, gratitude, fearlessness, and joy. Mel’s sales experience spans healthcare, technology, legal, and academic content solutions. She has been a consistent top performer and is most proud of her work fostering innovation, evolution, and team cohesiveness in each role. Mel grew up in West Michigan, where she still lives and enjoys running through the beautiful, wooded dunes. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. When she’s not exercising or spending time with her family, you can find her indulging in her love of learning about anything and everything.
As healthcare staff retention continues to be a challenge, leaders are prioritizing engagement now more than ever. When thinking about engagement, our focus is not only on building relationships between people, but also, on connecting individuals with their purpose. A Japanese concept called Ikigai means “that which gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose.” For healthcare workers, engaging with their Ikigai and being connected to why they chose the healthcare industry is vital.
During Wambi’s Humans at Work in Healthcare panel discussion, leaders across the country shared how engagement is playing a critical role in their hospital systems. Paula Pritzl, Chief Human Resources Officer at Marshfield Health Clinic System shared, “Our [focus] is engagement and having our managers and our leaders engaged with our workforce. We want them to know that we care.”
A common theme amongst all panelists explored ways they are helping team members reconnect with their why, which rings true to Ikigai:
Each panelist shared the importance of connecting with their team members in a genuine and authentic way, which often requires leaders to show vulnerability. When speaking about being vulnerable, Zane Zumbahlen Chief Human Resources and Talent Officer at Cancer Treatment Centers of America shared, “If we’re not doing it as leaders, our team members certainly aren’t going to do it, or the leaders that we support won’t do it; so I take it upon myself to try to lean into that and [connect] more often because I’ve got to create the space and the aperture for others to really authentically feel.” Showing vulnerability provides opportunities to have honest and meaningful conversations.
With the stress and uncertainty team members in healthcare experience daily, it is important to acknowledge how they are feeling. According to Ophelia Byers, Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer at New York-Presbyterian, this starts by “Asking more questions and asking better questions.” Byers makes a point to have intentional conversations with her team members and encourages leaders to embrace the reality their staff are facing and respond thoughtfully. Be understanding that not everyone will want to share.
With so many responsibilities during work and outside of work, it is important to remind team members to be present with their patients and to focus on the now. “Take the beauty in what we do and make sure everyone resonates with what we do every day,” shares Zumbahlen.
Throughout the panel, the common theme of powerful moments reminded each of the healthcare leaders why they do what they do. Reflecting on the moments that make a difference in people’s lives and sharing those stories with others is powerful.
“An experience is a matter of creating emotion and feelings and each interaction we have with our care givers is an opportunity to create an experience,” shares Sebastien Girard, Chief People Officer at Centura Health.
These moments and experiences will not only make a difference in the lives of those receiving the care but also those providing it. “These are the things that matter: how do we open up our heart, how do we connect in a real way, how do we use those moments to fuel us and to fight and combat fatigue?” shared Zumbahlen.
At Wambi, we believe Moments Move Us. Our healthcare recognition platform provides opportunities to improve hospital culture and reduce nurse burnout by fostering a sense of belonging. We focus on moments of connection and provide team members and leaders opportunities to share appreciation and gratitude, which serves as a reminder as to why the work they do is vitally important.
The more emphasis the healthcare industry places on emotional health and well-being, the more you’ll see a thriving, inspired workplace with strong organizational performance and team effectiveness. Request a demo today to see how Wambi’s culture transformation solution supports your patient care and employee engagement strategy.
Of the many lessons gleaned during the pandemic, one of the most profound is the importance of human connection. Human connection is vital in the promotion of health and wellbeing, not only for patients, but also for those that provide the care. In the context of healthcare, empathy indicates the presence of connection, while loneliness depicts the absence of connection. Over the past year, we’ve seen an uptick of loneliness within healthcare ecosystems. Between social distancing, masking, reduced visitation, and the overall limitations around opportunities to connect, COVID accelerated the feelings of loneliness and lack of connection that already pervaded our modern lifestyles pre-pandemic. The state of isolation precipitated by the pandemic has been the perfect breeding ground for loneliness.
Experts agree the #1 solution for addressing burnout, whether spurred by the lack of connection or high turnover, is to create positive work environments and develop opportunities for clinicians to give and receive meaningful recognition from peers, patients, and their families alike. It is crucial for healthcare leaders to provide a bridge between their team members and patients and families that is mutually beneficial to the wellbeing of both parties. And investing in a recognition system like Wambi, a solution designed specifically with the needs of the healthcare community in mind, is proven to mitigate the experience of loneliness and drive empathy among healthcare organizations. Here are more recommendations to strengthen human connection among staff and lend to better care operations:
It’s not enough to have a recognition program in place. In order to enact lasting, transformational change at your organization, an adoption plan must be shared out organizationally. Leaders can introduce a roadmap for how your recognition system works as early as the onboarding stage, as well as carve time out daily or weekly for veteran staff to devote to 15-minutes of recognizing a colleague. A user who is a nurse leader reads a Wambi every week at team huddles to celebrate the individual and establish a feeling of gratitude among all team members. When you standardize recognition practices org-wide, you are telling your staff that recognition is a priority.
We’ve learned from past healthcare experience panels that targeted intervention programs are needed to mitigate burnout. On top of the social isolation, team members have expressed frustration in not having enough resources to help them handle their emotional needs. Educating team members through formal and expert-led skills trainings will only improve the quality of care at your hospital ecosystem, thereby improving feelings of isolation that tend to surface during volatile times. These well-being trainings, especially ones that develop and nurture emotional intelligence, teach team members coping mechanisms to better handle crisis while giving them a framework for how to be more empathetic.
A powerful way for your team members to improve active listening towards their patients’ stories is by witnessing their leaders displaying the same kind of undivided intention to their concerns.
Discuss the role emotional intelligence plays in shaping experience with patients and among colleagues. Remind your staff to actively listen to their patients, and of its influence on patient health.
Human connections are key to the promotion of health and prevention of illness; conversely, illness can deteriorate those connections. Healthcare professional–patient relationships are key to ensuring the preservation of adequate human interactions. It is important for healthcare professionals to continually develop their ability to foster gratifying human connections because they provide social support for patients during their time of need, and they help prevent work-related stress. By focusing on this basic human need, you can improve the human experience for all.