The Culture Of Kindness In Our Healthcare Community
Kindness. It's an easy concept to grasp even for the youngest amongst us. Multiple cultures have imbued their qualities into their framework to steer humanity through the ages towards their better instincts and help shape our world into a better place to live and work. At Memorial Hospital of Converse County, we believe that kindness and compassion are at the heart of delivering on the promise of hometown care. But these values aren't just given externally to our patients; they are as well reflected internally to our staff.
A recent effort launched at MHCC worked to help make the days a bit brighter for our staff in the days leading up to World KindnessDay. Heading up this charge was Hospitality Director Felicia Masterson Smith, who as well oversees several committees dedicated to helping employees at our hospital such as the Just Because We Care Committee which operates under the Employee Engagement Committee, and other initiatives. She took a moment to share how this effort came about, what measures were put into place to spread some acts of kindness, and her hopes for the staff she loves like family.
"I'm part of what they call the Happenings Committee, which is a subcommittee of our overall Culture Committee," said Smith in our discussion. "And that's where this kind of kindness, pay it forward thing came from, out of that committee." The Happenings Committee worked on researching some ideas for helping plant seeds of kindness, compassion, and joy throughout the organization. Beginning the initiative on the start of Random Acts of Kindness Week, February 11th, and culminating on Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17th, the initiative aims to help staff have these RAKs sprinkled throughout their days.
"I took a bunch of these items [to the Leadership Team] and said, 'Okay, here, disperse these throughout the organization.' There are tokens; there are cards with sayings, little cards with $2 bills in them, just some really fun stuff that we found through Amazon and Oriental Trading or whatever. And they're cool and fun," smiled Smith. She then added, "and there were a lot of people that got excited! I was really surprised to see how many were picked up and taken out this morning. So I was thrilled to see that."
Going forward, Smith is working with each of the committees she is a part of to become more organized with a cross-functional schedule. This is especially important to make sure no committee is doubling up the efforts of another and that these endeavors remain consistent throughout the year. "What we tried to do is align our activities. So we have a calendar now of this month this is what we're doing," said Smith. "We have a roadmap basically of those two groups, of what they're doing each month, and then the Happenings Group. We'll kind of overlay that with just little things like this Random Acts of Kindness initiative that we can just spread out over a period of time."
Kindness plants the seeds for hope, so we asked Smith what her eventual hopes were for these initiatives for the organization and its staff. "I would like to see us keep this spark lit. Keep the kindness, keep the pay it forward, keep all these things that... I'm a firm believer; kindness can go a long way," concluded Smith. "Just giving somebody hope, and sharing that relationship with them can go a long way. You can't have a good culture if you don't have kindness underneath."