Hank Spring 2016

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From the Desk of Henrietta: Relieve Stress With ‘Yes, and’

A group of health care workers standing around a desk, talking with each other

Solving problems together as a team, such as this one in Georgia, can help keep stress and burnout at bay. 

The chances are good you are a person who deals—directly or indirectly—with life and death every day. You might be an EVS worker who keeps patient rooms germ-free to reduce the odds of infection, or an ER nurse helping a baby with a high fever. If you are not on the clinical front lines, you likely support this honorable work from behind the scenes.

We put others first. We give everything to give the best care to our patients. But far too frequently, we don’t leave anything in reserve. We neglect to take care of ourselves. This imbalance undermines the admirable ethic of our modern health care system.

One survey showed 60 percent of health care providers are burned out. In this issue of Hank, we provide practical tips and tools that individuals, leaders and teams can use to reduce workplace stress.

But more than that, we challenge the notion that the responsibility for preventing burnout lies solely with one of these groups. Let’s call it the “yes, and” approach. Yes, individuals need to eat better, exercise more and cultivate a positive outlook to reduce their own stress. And, leaders need to ensure safe staffing levels and create a solution-oriented workplace culture.

Our Labor Management Partnership gives us a third “yes, and”: Yes, individuals and leaders matter. And, our unit-based teams can fix inefficient processes that cause unnecessary stress and interpersonal conflict.

Every day, Kaiser Permanente’s 3,500 UBTs use performance improvement tools that make our work go more smoothly. Moreover, those tools and the foundation of trust and openness fostered by partnership give everyone a voice in making improvements.

And that also reduces our stress.

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