Really? Gratitude in the time of COVID-19?
These are such strange, uncertain times for all of us. For essential workers and health care providers, they are oftentimes of high anxiety and stress, of anger and frustration, and even a sense of hopelessness.
We’ve experienced the value of intentionally expressing gratitude in several of the webinars we regularly attend. Every agenda of the 20-minute IHI daily Nursing Home Huddles includes 2 minutes where participants use the chat function to share one good thing that has happened to them in the past 24 hours. These can be things from their workplace, their personal life, or anything that has filled them with gratitude.
I decided to compare and contrast “gratitude” with “appreciation,” and I found a useful website entry. “Gratitude is when we are grateful for something or someone. On the other hand, appreciation is when a person is able to notice the good in someone or even a gesture. This highlights that the key difference between gratitude and appreciation is that while gratitude is being thankful, appreciation is seeing the good.” In order to be grateful, I believe then that one needs to be appreciative, to see the good despite the challenges around us.
One of the best practices shared at one of the Nursing Home Huddles came from a hospital in Norway where the caregivers in the ICUs (many filled with COVID-infected patients in serious conditions) ended each shift in a Gratitude Huddle. The only question asked was, “What was something that made you smile today?” The presenter relating this best practice said that these huddles often elicited laughter and happy tears, but they also allowed these tired caregivers to leave work on a positive note as they headed home and to their families and friends.
At the recent Studer Group virtual “What’s Right in Health Care” conference, we watched a powerful video of a group of health care providers line a hallway leading to an exit. They were there to give a “clap out” to the support employees, such as the housekeepers, cafeteria workers, janitors, administrative staff, and maintenance workers as they left at the end of their shift. It was a palpable demonstration of gratitude in appreciation for all these support employees do that enable the health care providers to focus on their jobs.
As leaders – and we’re all leaders regardless of our job titles – who or what do you need to notice to see the good? And then, who do we need to express gratitude to? These two intentional actions can make a huge difference in another person’s day and in our own attitude. I’ll start. I appreciate all of the work you do in continuous improvement and performance excellence, and I’m grateful to have you in my network. I learn so much from you.
Upcoming Virtual Events You Won’t Want to Miss!
Learn from Baldrige Award recipients and others on the journey. These events are now even more affordable since they don’t involve any travel and living expenses. Consider registering your entire team!
Ready to enjoy some learning from a variety of speakers across a range of topics all related to Performance Excellence? It may be a virtual conference, but if it’s anything like the ones I’ve attended for years, it will be great!