With a little ‘love’, the culture of the health system can change for the better

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Disclosures: Petrelli has not released any relevant economic information.

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A few years ago, our health care system developed basic values ​​and behaviors from the grassroots level. This was the idea of ​​our President and CEO, Janice E. Nevin, MD, MPH, who is a family medicine doctor.

All caregivers at all levels of the organization participated and contributed.

Nicholas J. Petrelli, MD, FACS citation.

The theme developed was: “We serve together guided by our values ​​of excellence and love.” Yes, the word love.

I had a hard time putting love around the medical environment. I have no problem loving my nuclear and extended family, some of my friends and colleagues, but I found it difficult to bring “love” into the patient’s field.

‘I love you beautiful’

I find it strange that I even grew up in an Italian family where love was intense, including hugs and kisses around me. The first time visitors came to our house and had a 6-hour Italian meal, my mother was overjoyed to see that everyone had finished everything they had prepared. As he left, he hugged each of them. This was also the case with my uncles and aunts, who shared the words after each visit: “Ti amo bello”.

I discussed my difficulties in getting the word out with our primary care physician. His recommendation was not to think of love, but of compassion. Bazinga! Immediately a light bulb lit up in my head. Fixed issue.

These values ​​of love and excellence make sense to me from the point of view of compassion. In the category of love, our health care system made practical statements such as:

  • We accept diversity and show respect for everyone.
  • We speak the truth with courage and empathy.
  • We actively listen, understand, and strive for good intentions.

The following statements are included in the Excellence category:

  • We use our resources wisely and efficiently.
  • We seek new knowledge, ask for feedback, and are open to change.
  • We are faithful to our word and keep our commitments.

These are just a few examples. Quite simple, but very powerful.

Significant impact

The impact of these has been significant over the last 8 years. I have seen a change in campus culture because of these values ​​and behaviors. The environment of psychological security has been created in many areas of the health system.

Most importantly, these values ​​don’t just appear on paper and hang on our walls. They are practiced daily and are called to every meeting. You can’t have a conversation without showing basic values ​​or behavior.

You’ll be amazed at what I’ve come to know about New York’s shooting range and how I’ve adapted it to my behavior. My wife has also noticed a change in our home environment. Well, let’s just say it’s not as noticeable as my work environment.

I don’t know if this dramatic change in culture has happened in other organizations, or if there is something similar. If this is not the case, I encourage you to develop a basic view of your organization in order to develop such values ​​and behaviors.

Patient satisfaction has also increased in many areas of the health care system due to this change in culture. However, there is still a lot to do, as everyone knows that culture does not change overnight.

I’d love to share these basic values ​​and behaviors with you, so feel free to send me an email below. You and your colleagues will work in a better environment and, most importantly, cancer patients will benefit tremendously. As we all know, life is short. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

Hello. Rest assured.

For more information:

Nicholas J. Petrelli, MD, FACS, Helen F. Graham of ChristianaCare is the Medical Director of Bank of America at the Cancer Center & Research Institute and the Associate Director of Translational Research at the Wistar Cancer Institute. He is also an associate editor of surgical oncology HemOnc Today. Contact [email protected]

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