Heeding the call from customers’ feedback, officers turn to appreciative inquiry training

By: Kathy Cafazzo
  • PHASE 1: Listing what you feel you do best

    “It was really interesting to hear the officers tell their stories of when they felt they were at their best,” DeKay said.

    One officer shared, “I felt the best working here when I was able to talk with someone who had just lost their daughter and let them cry on my shoulder for half an hour.”

    Another officer recalled a conversation that took place between a patient and one of his officer teammates.

    “He overheard a phone call between a patient and her father. She was discharged but didn’t have enough money to put gas in her car to drive home. Her father would have to travel more than an hour to the hospital to give her the cash she needed.

    “My teammate walked up to her and told her, ‘Don’t bother.’ He took all of the money he had out of his wallet and gave it to her. It was like she won the lottery. He just gave her money so that she could get gas and go home and not have to stress about it, plus her dad didn’t have to make the trip.”

    The proud officer finished, “That made me happy to know that that’s my teammate. He’s someone who has my back and has our patients’ backs, too, when they need it.”

    The generous officer in question didn’t — and still doesn’t — want recognition for his act.

    “Those are instances when our officers felt the most connected and when they felt like they were doing the best for our organization,” DeKay said. “There were a lot of officers who shared similar stories and none of them were about the other types of service they provide, dealing with conflict and potential physical interactions at times.

    “How they see themselves is not how other people see them,” DeKay continued. “That’s what we learned in the first phase.”


  • PHASE 2: Magnify what we do best

    The second phase focused on how the security officers wanted to define themselves.

    “That’s what Appreciative Inquiry is doing — it’s helping us take a look at who we are, how we define ourselves and how it’s working,” DeKay said.


  • PHASE 3: Develop a mission and vision

    Marra and Agerton are working with staff to develop a mantra they want to live by when they are out and about on our UF Health Shands properties, as well as when they are away from the job.

    Neal said, “It’s good to listen to the variations of ideas that our Security officers have because our team is a diverse group of all ages and from all walks of life. When I hear the different ideas they share, things in my mind start to pop up. They are actually helping me help them (in turn).”


  • PHASE 4: Get their message out to us, their clients

    And the fourth phase — getting their message out — well, you’re reading one of those ways right now.

    We’re telling their story. Learning about what our security department is really doing for us.

    They aren’t here simply to respond to potential crises, and help ease difficult situations — although that happens a lot. In their day-to-day experience, they do much more.

    They are part of our hospital team. They are here to help all of us — patients, visitors and staff alike — feel safe and secure in many different ways.