Category: Loving

Emotionally Attached Medicine

We’re living in a time when empathy seems more important than ever, with the uncertainty prompted by COVID-19. It makes us consider how does the empathy and emotional intelligence of a physician impact patient health and outcomes? The health care Experience is unavoidably filled with emotion, yet physicians can sometimes approach these high-emotion moments with detached, evidence-based responses. In fact, this study found that only 53% of patients felt that their physicians were empathic and caring. There are many reasons why this is the reality of more than half of our patients: from physician burnout, to pressure to see as many patients as possible, to complex relationships across care teams. Where apathy is one result of these pressures, empathy can be a powerful solution. Another study found that physicians who report showing empathic concern for their patients also reported having higher job satisfaction. Perceived empathy also improves the likelihood that a patient will comply with a doctor’s orders and can even improve their ability to get over the common cold. When we develop our providers to work from a place of wholeheartedness, we actually increase the likelihood that our patients will stay with our organizations and see better outcomes.

How might we better assess and measure physician empathy along with physician engagement? What correlations can we create between physician engagement and patient perception of Experience or outcomes?

Learning from Microsoft

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has great lessons for how to lead with empathy. While leaders can be pinned as being strong, hard, pragmatic figures in their organizations, Nadella has proven that this does not have to be the case to be successful. Nadella embodies the strength of empathic leadership in five ways:

  • the power of exposing our personal weaknesses
  • leading all interactions with what’s going well
  • practicing urgent patience when facing challenges
  • relying on the “growth mindset” when reviewing team member performance
  • actively using empathy as a tool

His results speak for themselves. Nadella has dramatically revived Microsoft’s reputation and relevance, and in less than four years, they have seen $250 billion in market value gains.

How does Nadella challenge the view of what a successful leader looks like? Pick one of his practices and introduce it into the week ahead – take note of how interactions with team members change.

V39: Intro to Wholehearted

As we begin our fourth theme of LOVING – the theme that binds us all together as people – we’re excited to introduce the principle of Wholehearted.

Working wholeheartedly in health care means showing up and bringing our whole heart to the work, the cause, and the calling. When we put all of our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls into our work, we build authentic connections, find genuine solutions, and design meaningful Experiences for our team members, providers, patients, and guests.

This week, we’ll explore what Wholehearted means and what it looks like in action. We’ll see how some folks show up even when there’s no guarantee and how we must truly believe in our own worth.


Giving Wholeheartedly

There’s something incredibly powerful about the practice of giving. This moving video displays that generosity is a strong thread in the practice of wholeheartedness; when we give something, whether tangible or intangible, merely for the purpose of gifting it to someone, that energy changes us both for the better. We all give in different ways whether by making donations, by cooking for others, by helping those who have less, and more.

Selfless giving is key. As one individual stated in the video, we must “not have the expectation of getting something in return,” because giving is not transactional.

What would happen if we incorporated this Wholehearted practice of giving in our work? What if we viewed the Experiences we’re creating every day – and the time, energy, and compassion we have for our work – as the gift we’re giving to our team members, providers, patients, and guests?

Some Football Loving

We have discovered a Wholehearted football tradition at the University of Iowa that brings huge smiles to our faces. What began as a Facebook suggestion is now a full-blown movement. 

The University’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital sits adjacent to the football field, and their wonderful, young patients have an incredible view on game day. The children in the hospital watch the game in a “tailgate” on the top floor of the building. Between the first and second quarters, the hometown crowd turns around, looks up, and waves to the children and their families to let them know they’re rooting for them, too. The kids wave right back enthusiastically. And for night games when the kids can’t see the wave? Don’t worry, fans will be shining their phone flashlights high and bright. Fight! Fight! Fight! For Iowa, indeed.

What Wholehearted moments of joy and connection can we build into our unique places and spaces? How might we change the view and what is seen or Experienced through our many windows? How might our windows become a window of possibility?

Heartfelt Teamwork

How do we expand and amplify our team member engagement? Simply invite and provide permission for team members to be Wholehearted in their work. This thoughtful piece by Aimee Lucas of the Temkin Group explores the impact of positive psychology on Experience design. Positive psychology is defined as:

The scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive.The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance the experiences of love, work, and play.” 

So it makes perfect sense that when we are Wholehearted and approach work with courage and vulnerability that we are cultivating what is best within ourselves. When we design all jobs in health care to bring out the meaning in the work, we ensure each of our team members is doing just what positive psychology encourages: enabling individuals and communities to thrive. Shouldn’t this sentiment be at the core of all healing? Leading with this notion allows us to create organizational empathy for each other and for those we serve.

When do we feel most Wholehearted at work? What part of our team members’ jobs makes us feel most Wholehearted? How can we encourage our teams to perform their roles through the lens of that passionate action?