The Unity Benefits of Community
By Amy Gomez, Carla Werner, and Crissy Benze
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
–Helen Keller, author and disability rights advocate
As we continue to navigate through our new normal, relying on each other is more important than ever. There is strength in numbers, a statement we strongly believe. In fact, one of BSM’s core values is collaboration.
When we partner with practices and ASCs, they often ask for recommended resources. For this reason, we are providing some references and links throughout this blog post that we hope will be helpful. Offering support is just one of the hallmarks of coming together. Below we explore some other characteristics that define a community — whether virtual or in-person — that can benefit your staff, patients, and healthcare facility.
For more than two years, medical personnel have been inundated with ever-changing protocols, new regulatory requirements, increasing patient anxiety, and staffing deficiencies that have significantly affected day-to-day operations. Knowing others who have experienced the same creates a sense of fellowship and connection. It also provides an opportunity to commiserate, share ideas, and cultivate solutions for a better patient experience and work environment.
The past couple of years have tested us all. Whether changes to our daily lives, shifts in our support systems, or struggles with physical and mental health issues, the pandemic upended our sense of order and peace. For that reason, enhancing the comfort your facility provides to both patients and staff is a worthy goal.
In the practice setting, there are several ways to go about that. One is to encourage open communication, so both staff and patients know their input is welcomed and appreciated. Another option is to add amenities (e.g., a coffee station in the patient waiting room and staff break room) to make the office feel more like home.
Adding comfort in the surgery center environment is a little more challenging, but there are simple things you can do. For patients, ensure you are addressing them directly, calmly, and by name; provide a warm blanket in the preop area; supply easy snacks postoperatively; and maybe give a staff-signed thank you card upon discharge. For staff, directly communicate a job well done, involve them in quality improvement activities to foster a sense of ownership, bring in lunch once a month, or do a quarterly community-building happy hour.
There are many ways to make others feel comforted; you just need to be creative! These tactics not only ensure your patients are comfortable and well cared for, but also your staff, providers, and yourself. That promotes a feeling of safety, happiness, and positivity. All of which translates to better decision-making, problem-solving, and productivity and, as such, better patient and workplace satisfaction.
As society slowly emerges from the pandemic, businesses are facing a myriad of staffing issues. Many are operating on skeleton crews and finding it difficult to backfill positions. Meanwhile, ophthalmology practices with new recruits often find themselves with hires who have never worked in ophthalmology, let alone a medical practice. To help support these employees in their new careers, a training plan is essential.
The more supported and valued employees feel — whether they are new or existing staff — the more satisfied and less stressed they are in their jobs. This makes for happier, more positive employees. In turn, they deliver better patient care and outcomes. All these factors add up to financial benefits for the business through reduced turnover, higher employee productivity, and more patient and physician referrals.
During times of change, knowledge and its exchange is critical. It helps to inform decisions, discover solutions, and reinforce best practices. Since communities bring a diverse group of people together with a common interest, they can naturally serve as a source of knowledge.
Online forums are one avenue to tap into that knowledge. Members can ask questions, share challenges, and request advice. Other members can chime in, offering their feedback based on their experiences, viewpoints, and learnings. Seeking knowledge and welcoming it has many benefits. It can help your organization and staff to adapt, progress, and become more resilient. All good traits to have in our ever-evolving society and industry.
Helpful resources: Besides the Practice Connection and ASC Facebook groups mentioned earlier, Progressive eSupport hosts a forum, where members can pose inquires and receive answers from our consultants and other ASC professionals across the country. Additional industry expertise is available on Progressive eSupport and BSM Connection through monthly webinars, compliance templates and tools, and eLearning courses. All resources are created to help keep you and your team informed.
With knowledge comes empowerment. When you empower those in your organization, you give them the opportunity to make decisions independently. This creates more loyal, satisfied employees who rely on leadership less for direction. Clinical employees often come to mind when thinking of empowered practice decision-makers, but non-clinical staff can fall into that category, too.
As the pandemic has proved, being on the frontlines in a medical practice or surgery center is a hard place to be. It’s those employees who guide the customer journey and often hear patient complaints and frustrations. When non-clinical staff have the confidence and means to deftly handle patient situations, they can make sure patients are comfortable and satisfied with their practice experience.
Being part of something larger than ourselves — like a community — offers many benefits. It creates camaraderie, offers comfort, provides support, enhances knowledge, and propels empowerment. These qualities ultimately boost the employee experience, patient care, and facility operations. Something you do not want to miss out on.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITIES: Register and learn more about our membership programs by visiting BSM Connection, eSupport, CEP, and CPSS. Also, feel free to share your own favorite go-to resources in your day-to-day work in the comment section below.