Our Healthcare Heroes Need Recognition Now!

glimmer of hopeSo, here we are in wave four of COVID in Ontario. Healthcare professional shortages are getting worse in Canada, well, worldwide. Aging demographic. Strained financial environment. Patients sicker.

Okay, so you may think doom and gloom and regret reading paragraph one, however, I have an idea that might be a glimmer of hope.

First things first though…

I need to say, many don’t know that we have a culture in healthcare of unimaginable spans of control of healthcare leaders (up to 350: 1 manager to staff), so how is that job even possible? How can you see the greatness in your team, round with patients, recognize greatness and address issues promptly? This is an issue I was trying to help fix in hospitals I worked in 15+ years ago. With so many not wanting to get into nursing leadership (who could blame them…they get paid less than a nurse working overtime, and it’s a “can’t win” job much of the time), the situation is getting worse.

Healthcare Thank You Interview with Healthcare LeaderNow, I’m not pointing the fingers at healthcare executives. They are in an impossible position, too, with shrinking budgets, their own workload overwhelms, board pressure, and industry advances changing faster than such a large structure can pivot within (the tip of the iceberg of issues really). Casting blame gets us nowhere. In fact, it stops progress. (Here’s one interview with a healthcare leader you may be interested in watching.)

Staff are caught in the middle of it all.

There is good news. One that may give hope, fuel healing, and give glimmers of happiness in such strained times.

Recognition by way of a thank you is the simplest, fastest, and more accessible way to make things even a little better every day.

Lead healthcare with confidence through COVID with Sarah McVanelIt takes seconds to say thank you and doesn’t hit the bottom line. And 95% of people say they want it; any healthcare audience I’ve ever spoken for when I’ve asked “how do you want to be appreciated?” a simple thank you has, every time, been their response.

When healthcare staff do not feel appreciated and only ever have more work to do, angry families are frustrated about the care of loved ones, unaddressed incivility, lack of communication, too many strategic projects impacting providers without their feedback, etc., nurses and other healthcare professionals do not feel seen, heard, appreciated or valued. It’s, frankly, dangerous not to address this lack of appreciation.

Many are speaking out about the issues that have existed in healthcare for a long time. The Gritty Nurse Podcast is one of them. You may want to tune in and educate yourself (if this is new to you) or rally together (if you work in this field).

So what are we waiting for? Peers, leaders, patients, families, and community-at-large, take any and every opportunity to thank healthcare professionals. A frontline care career – of any professional designation – is too overwhelming physically, emotionally, and spiritually to not appreciate them. Are you with me?

Want to thank a frontline worker?  Post this image to your social media of choice and tag a healthcare professional or frontline worker you know to say thank you!

For more ideas about thanking our healthcare peeps, check out the resources below:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

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