Day: December 14, 2020

V50: Joy in Action

As health care leaders, we are immersed in so many of life’s powerful emotions on a daily basis – from the elation of birth, recovery, and healing  to the moments of uncertainty, illness, and loss. It’s important to remember, however, that amidst these emotions that are often being created by situations, we have the power to recognize and cultivate Joy. And remember, Joy is contagious, so the more we create, the more it grows. This week, we look at discovering and rediscovering Joy within our own walls and out in the world.

Flipping Joy

While we’re always on a mission to bring Joy into the lives of our patients, Colton Nordvik reminds us that our guests are in need of Joy, too. Flipping the model of the toy drive, high-school senior Nordvik asked his community to make donations such as cologne, picture frames, coffee mugs, and pajamas to Shriners Hospital for Children in Northern California. The goal was to create a “store” where the young patients of Shriners Hospital could go and “shop” for a present for their parents. This allowed the patients to experience the Joy of giving even from their hospital rooms.

How can we put the Joy of giving into the hands of our team members, providers, patients, and guests? Reflect on how the act of giving brings Joy to both people involved.

Restoring Joy

Drs. David Rosenthal and Abraham Verghese went on a journey to help physicians rediscover Joy in their work. They found that the key to reversing the trending disconnect which came with the introduction of the electronic medical record was challenging, but simple: dedication to human connection. To invigorate the Joy in the work, physicians must not fall prey to treating what Rosenthal and Verghese call the “iPatient,” or the profiles created by the “drop-down menus, cut-and-paste text fields, and lists populated with a keystroke.” It’s critical, instead, to truly see, acknowledge, and prioritize the human connection. Rosenthal and Verghese go on to point out that this isn’t limited to the patient-doctor in-person connection, it’s also about doctors spending time with colleagues and designing spaces such as lounges and lunchrooms to facilitate getting out from behind a computer and connecting with each other.

The power of human connection isn’t just the key to finding Joy in work for physicians; it’s the secret to job satisfaction for all of us. What ways can we unlock the opportunities for our team members, providers, patients, and guests to connect with each other and acknowledge each other?

Ode to Joy

Magical things happen when an entire nation dedicates themselves to Joy. In Japan, it is an end-of-year tradition to sing the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, “Ode to Joy.” The song is such an elemental part of the Japanese culture that it’s known just as daiku which translates literally to “number nine.” This particular recording is of the Number Nine Chorus performing daiku after the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan in 2011. What is normally a practice of giving time and effort to Joy became a moment of Joy for the entire world. Feel your heart soar as the chorus comes in.

The power of large groups of people devoting themselves to Joy is undeniable. Luckily, our organizations are the homes of thousands of people who have opportunities to discover and practice Joy collectively every single day. How are we encouraging our team members, providers, patients, and guests to come together in their displays of Joy?


While we can’t visit their signature pop-up Experience this year, COVID-19 hasn’t stopped this incredible organization, Choose Love from spreading goodness to those in need. People can scatter Joy by purchasing real products for refugees through their online store. Divided into the three phases of a refugee’s journey – Arrival, Shelter, and Future – the online platform allows visitors to step into the shoes of a refugee and then personally select how, and in what way, to make an impact.  All the items chosen are delivered to people facing winter in the most difficult circumstances. Last year alone, the pop-up and online platform helped provide refugees with 800,000 nutritious meals, 3,556 nights of accommodation, 25,000 winter essentials, and 100,000 items for babies and children. 

In this season of giving and our final month of LOVING, we’re inspired by this reminder to always Choose Love and the power of this simple message: “We all have a choice. To be motivated by fear and animosity, to build walls and turn our backs on the world. Or to nurture the hopeful; to recognize our common future. To choose love. The world can feel broken, but these cracks are letting in light.” Let’s all be the LOVING agents of possibility and #ChooseLove.