South Florida Hospital News
Thursday December 14, 2017
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November 2017 - Volume 14 - Issue 5

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Combatting Stress and Encouraging Creativity

Memorial Hospital Pembroke has Employees’ Backs

Work and life have routine lulls punctuated by intense and dramatic incidents … the end result is STRESS. The cause of stress varies depending on individual circumstances but an argument with your teenager as you are leaving for work can be just as stressful as taking care of a heart attack patient or treating a child in severe pain. Daily stress can cause your body and mind to overreact to situations, resulting in digestive problems, weight fluctuation, heart disease, sleep deprivation, depression, and a host of other issues that no one deserves. Additionally, research indicates it can negatively impact work productivity.
 
The world of health care is full of lifesaving technology and gadgetry for patients but some of the most beneficial features might be found in its simpler amenities. Memorial Hospital Pembroke, Pembroke Pines, created a new room that provides “quiet’ space where employees can rest, de-stress and gather their thoughts after intense experiences, a long shift or just a normal day at work - whether that’s in an office or in the ER. 
 

As nationwide headlines scream of harrowing events involving violence, severe injuries and fatalities it often seems family or workplace stress is a contributing factor which takes its toll. 
 
CEO Mark Doyle acknowledges that the pressure to heal and cure in healthcare can cause physical, mental, and emotional aches and pains. “During some days (like recent hurricane events) people are on the job long hours and they need a break to go somewhere away from the routine and take care of themselves. It doesn’t matter whether you are responsible for a clinical aspect or an environmental aspect of patient care, we all need some down time for ourselves.”
 
No doubt there are lots of how-to tips to de-stress but Memorial Pembroke effuses encouragement from the top down to make employees feel comfortable in taking that time out to re-energize for what comes next.
 
Pine Down Room
If you don’t have a personal masseuse at home, here’s the next best thing. Two full body executive massage chairs were purchased by the Memorial Foundation to provide a unique calming experience in a zero-gravity position. Chair technology provides different techniques including kneading, knocking, and shiatsu, to name a few, on the upper or lower body or on a fixed point and accommodates a full range of body sizes. The chairs are located in a room painted with calming colors, back-lit with low lighting and a native beach décor to give employeeiiy5s that space and time to get through or over a tough day. Employees can choose to share this time with a friend or in curtained privacy with some headphones. They can fit it into their normal break times or before or after shift begins.
 
The idea originated as a suggestion to target millennials, but it was wholeheartedly embraced by clinical and non-clinical managers as a recruitment and retention benefit, Doyle contends. As headlines constantly remind us, unaddressed behavioral health issues can lead to highly stressful outcomes. Experts suggest that the stigma attached to taking care of our own mental health now needs to be tossed. Instead, recognition of the benefits of relaxation and calm as a way to decompress is a lifesaving antidote to burn out. Here, managers overwhelmingly supported workplace stress relief as an across-the-board benefit, vital to a productive healthy workforce, that employees would appreciate.
 
According to Doyle, “We believe this is just one employee-centric initiative that is a testimonial to how we live our mission to heal the body, mind and spirit of ALL those we touch… patient, family AND employees. Additionally, we have no doubt it will positively impact our recruitment and retention efforts, because employees appreciate that we recognized an employee need and responded accordingly.”
 
This promises to add more awards to the system’s coveted trophy case. Memorial has earned many prestigious healthcare accolades. They include: Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare, Florida Trend’s Best Companies to Work for in Florida, 100 Top Hospitals, Consumer Choice Award, Best-Run Hospital, Best Nursing Staff, Best Pediatric Hospital and Best Maternity Hospital.
According to Doyle, the awards rise from an atmosphere of trust which promotes innovation, engagement and creativity.
 
“We strive to give employees opportunities for meaningful careers, with pay and benefits that help them live rewarding, balanced lives. One of Memorial’s most important employee benefits is its nationally recognized workplace culture. It has been built and carefully maintained over time and relies on teamwork, collaboration, transparency and individual advancement. This latest innovation speaks to that,” he said.
 
Pine Rock Room
So, now that you’ve decompressed after an anxiety producing board room meeting, how do you scramble to meet the imperative to be the first, the best, or the newest? Some of the most innovative companies feature opportunities to give employees time and space to creatively problem solve and innovate.
 
At Memorial Hospital Pembroke, soon it might be a team meeting in an out of the way huddle room, furnished with comfy bean bag or saddle chairs along with accoutrements of technology like white boards and internet access to spark creativity and visionary breakthroughs for service delivery. Pressure to be the first and the best often can be overcome in meeting spaces which encourage creative outside-the-box, relaxed thinking. Original ideas are often birthed in off-task thinking. This Pembroke Pines hospital claims a spot ahead of the curve with the appetite to create the model environment that provokes originality and novel solutions and leaves the competition in the dust ... Watch in the near future for inspirational spaces here that promote energy and idea sharing.
 
Architectural trends, like open offices, may foster collaboration but may simultaneously conflict with peaceful solitude and concentration in the workplace. Memorial Hospital Pembroke’s focus on employee well-being puts it in league with forward-thinking companies which are creating quiet zones, meditative environments, and even creative spaces to lower the cacophonous noise, boost creativity, and restore emotional balance.

For more information, email mdoyle@mhs.net.

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