A CULTURE OF CARE
Hospitality within our hospital
Strums of a guitar resonate throughout the fourth-floor lobby while laughter and celebration accompany the symphonic sounds.
The UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital Unit 42 nursing team gathers around the decorated check-in area to sing and clap to a special song written by William Slayton, MD, chief of the division of pediatric hematology and oncology at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. It’s the start of a new beginning yet a bittersweet goodbye — beloved Unit 42 nurse manager Laura Bratcher, RN, is honored one last time before she moves into a new season of retirement.
“Talking ‘bout Laura” — Slayton’s song adaptation that beats along to the tempo of “My Girl” by The Temptations, was a heartfelt and creative way to express the impact that Bratcher’s departure will leave on UF Health.
It’s compassionate behavior like this that drives a positive working environment. Rashmin Savani, MD, professor and chair of the department of pediatrics at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital calls this “the culture of care.”
Coming from the University of Texas Southwestern Hospital in Dallas, Savani saw this type of supportive working culture over the last 16 years working there. Upon arriving to Gainesville, he has noticed this very same thing.
Savani happily recalled an event from this past December, where Robyn Broxton, assistant director for general pediatrics, made a few known drop-ins to all eight Gainesville and Ocala UF Health pediatric primary care practices. The staff were aware she was dropping off food for their team potlucks, but what they didn’t know was that Broxton had a small festive surprise — she was dressed head-to-toe in a Grinch costume! This was just as exciting for the staff as it was for the pediatric patients. Everyone gathered to take pictures with this iconic character — the adults even waited too.
“To tell you I am humbled from the experience would be a severe understatement,” Broxton said. “Rest assured, I fully intend to repeat this for the 2023 holiday season.”
Slayton’s dedication song and Broxton’s holiday surprise were unique and grand examples, but we are reminded that the small moments can matter just as much.
UF Health Shands Chief Quality Officer Michele Lossius, MD, FAAP, shared interactions that she sees around our facilities and is reminded how deep relationships can run in our clinical care space.
Lossius remembers one particular evening when she stayed later than usual in the ICU to help with an acute patient care situation. As the time passed, it grew dark outside and one of the ICU nurses asked Lossius if she had someone to walk her to her car, showing concern for her safety. Lossius also recalls many times where staff have asked her if she has eaten lunch on any given day.
“This level of concern and care is really outside most job descriptions, but it is so appreciated,” Lossius said.
According to Lossius, this culture of care can be created by asking a simple question like, “How are you?” “Can I grab you some coffee?” or “How’s your family?” — a kind inquiry can go a long way.
“It should be something subtle that says, I see you, I hear you and I care about you,” Lossius said.
Employee recognition awards like UF Health Shands Nursing’s LEAD and DAISY awards, featured in publications of Magnet Moments, highlight the impactful ways nurses care for each other and our patients, but many instances just like these go unreported all the time.
The few examples mentioned above are a tiny fraction of what goes on inside these hospital walls, but Lossius agrees that to get you through the personal and professional challenges of everyday life is the day-to-day relationships made — usually achieved through these simple interactions.
More importantly, practicing this culture of care makes a difference in the happiness, satisfaction and the ability to look after our patients.
Savani’s hope is that we never lose sight of what positively influences us and how this can make a lasting impression in the health care industry and our everyday life.