The healthcare industry is the backbone of our society. Dedicated medical professionals are vital for saving lives. Their bravery and altruism are highly honored in society but aren’t respected or recognized in the workplace. While hospitals and other health facilities prioritize patient experiences, the fulfillment of medical professionals is often an afterthought.
Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, medical workers experienced an unprecedented increase in mental health symptoms. Many reports heavily focused on the impact on physicians and nurses, but more holistic studies revealed that more than half of all healthcare workers were stressed, burned out, and planning to leave the industry.
In a post-pandemic world, the medical industry is still experiencing consequences due to its culture. Staff shortages have intensified and decreased undergraduate enrollment, fueling a systemic issue that could be life-threatening for our society.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the country will need 124,000 physicians by 2024. Another report says that America currently needs 17,000 primary care professionals, 12,000 dental health practitioners, and 8,200 mental health specialists. The numbers will grow as the healthcare system isn’t designed to care for its workers as much as it cares for patients.
Despite cases of unsupportive management, bullying, and low pay in some positions, healthcare workers continue to show up and serve patients to their best ability. This may be the current landscape of healthcare, but what if it could be transformed into a more productive and positive environment for both patients and employees?
Marcia Donziger, an award-winning health leader, speaker, and author, developed the Culture CARES™ framework for tackling this issue.
After being diagnosed with cancer in her late 20s, Marcia founded MyLifeLine Cancer Foundation. The organization fostered a digital community and connection for cancer patients and survivors. Now part of a global organization, Cancer Support Community, Marcia’s creation was able to touch the lives of over 300,000 patients and family members.
Over the 15 years of work that Marcia completed within the healthcare and patient advocacy worlds, she noticed some of the cracks within the American healthcare system. She recognized that even before COVID, medical professionals were overwhelmed at their jobs. She noticed the irony that organizations with a mission of health and well-being had a culture of burnout and stress. Once Marcia witnessed the uptick in mental health issues for healthcare workers, she was determined to address the situation. From this, she created her framework, Culture CARES™.
“My idea with the Culture CARES™ framework is to inspire lasting change by creating a fulfilling and successful healthcare culture,” says Donziger, “The current model these organizations utilize doesn’t improve the health outcomes for their patients or employees. In fact, the status quo is slowly killing us. It’s just never-ending pressure and expectations to perform for someone else when you’re barely getting by. That’s not acceptable in other industries, and it shouldn’t be accepted in healthcare. We need skilled and responsible professionals to be focused and compassionate every day. That requires resources and a supportive work environment.”
There is a better way. Consider how you might energize your staff within a system that truly values, respects, and appreciates them.
Culture CARES™ is an acronym that represents the five layers of culture necessary for creating work environments that value, respect, and appreciate their staff. The first letter ‘C’ represents commitment, the driving factor behind high-performing workforces accountable for their institution’s success.
A is for Appreciation, the second layer of culture goes hand in hand with commitment. It’s an essential element for motivating employees and creating connections.
Next, the letter R represents Respect which includes empowering employees who know they can achieve success.
E stands for Engagement and is the following layer, which focuses on learning, connection, and collaboration between staff and their employer.
Finally, S is for Safety which addresses the necessity for transparency and trust. Employees must be allowed to ask questions, make mistakes, and be encouraged to try again. Achieving safety is the last layer of Culture CARES™ because it’s the foundation for all other elements.
The benefits of the Culture CARES™ model serve employees, patients, and healthcare systems. Some of the outcomes of integrating this framework include increased revenue, lower costs, and more fulfilled employees. Marcia is passionate about bringing these outcomes to the table for organizations. As a culture transformation coach, her keynote speeches, leadership training, workshops, and roles as a fractional Chief Culture Officer are pivotal for turning a disengaged workforce around. In addition, disengagement is costing our society billions of dollars. When will we wake up?
Marcia’s biggest goal with the Culture CARES™ framework is to empower employees to do what they love at organizations that love them back. As seen in the healthcare industry, patient outcomes are threatened when medical teams are burned out, stressed, and exhausted. Marcia hopes to prevent real-life crises and remind our healthcare heroes that their work and dedication are valued, no matter what situation they’re in. Making a change can be as easy as three steps: Diagnosis, solution, and prescription.
If you’re promoting health in the world, start by delivering on your mission from the inside out beginning with your staff and employees. When they feel cared for, your patients will benefit.
Name: Marcia Donziger
Email: [email protected]