What an important time for all of us as healthcare leaders! I encourage taking advantage of the materials being offered through ACHE, as well as the virtual programs being held by ACHE of Massachusetts. Also, if you haven’t had a chance, listen to the outstanding podcast series presented by ACHE of Massachusetts earlier this year at www.massache.org.
The usual annual regent awards were deferred this year due to the state of emergency; however, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association is moving the traditional June annual gathering, where the awards are presented to the Mid-winter forum typically held in January for next year. Recognition for senior executive and the early careerist award will be presented at that time.
There is so much to say and learn as we go through the pandemic and continue forward in the complex world of living with COVID-19 until a vaccine is available. Here are my top ten lessons as a hospital executive (so far)
- The crisis revealed our strengths and weak points as a health provider. The crisis has provided an opportunity to embrace and address those realities.
- Heroes are humans. The things we expected from front line caregivers would scare the most resilient among us. At its core, building resilience is truly caring and connecting to purpose, people, and principles.
- Communication is complex, especially when it changes daily, and trust may be lost. Ultimately trust is earned before a crisis hit. Many of our patients and communities demonstrated that trust with an outpouring of support, and for that, they deserved continued clear and transparent communication and the ability to return to a safe environment.
- People grieve when they go through such loss of routine and normalcy. For leaders, the most challenging aspect of the crisis was supporting a workforce in grief. It is critical to maintaining a supportive environment.
- You must do things for the greater good, limiting family visitors, rationing PPE, deploying staff out of their comfort zone and done best using thoughtful, ethical leadership.
- Out of need comes creativity and innovation; recovery and reintegration won’t be successful without it.
- Put staff and patient safety first. Always.
- In a crisis, people rise and know what to do, and it takes a village. Changes were put in place in 3-4 weeks that would have taken 3-4 years in a normal environment.
- The teams with who we work are everything. I can’t imagine going through what the past few months with any other individuals. Thank you, Lawrence General Hospital, who served our beloved community, so well.
- Physicians and nurses are amazing. I will always be in awe of these incredibly intelligent, compassionate, and skilled individuals.
My heart goes out to the many who suffered, lost their lives, and was frightened and felt alone. We never stop learning, and we cannot waste the opportunities presented by this crisis to support and be prepared next time so that no one will face the personal threat of this pandemic like that again.
Karen O. Moore RN, MS, FACHE
Senior Vice President Operations/CNO
Lawrence General Hospital, Lawrence, MA