New research conducted by Experience In Motion LLC (EIM), Minneapolis, reveals that when healthcare organizations, their staff and practitioners engage in self-care as an organizational strategy, it not only improves the healing experience for themselves and patients, but it also improves business measures.
“The research reveals the need for a fundamental paradigm shift from primarily caring for others to making self-caring a fundamental tenant of the organization's culture”
The landmark study, entitled "5 Dimensions of Self-Caring that Heal Healthcare: The foundation of an experience management strategy," was conducted spring 2010 based on interviews with healthcare leaders representing physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, insurance executives, and educators. EIM researchers will guide healthcare leaders and practitioners in applying the research results to their business in a workshop being held September 8 -10, 2010 at the Institute of Noetic Science's Earthwise Retreat Center in Petaluma, Calif. To obtain the research report, go to: www.experienceinmotion.net.
"The research reveals the need for a fundamental paradigm shift from primarily caring for others to making self-caring a fundamental tenant of the organization's culture," said Nancy O'Brien, co-founder and Chief Experience Officer of EIM, who conducted the interviews. "The healthcare system is stressed because the people in it are stressed. A keystone of self-caring creates a different type of efficiency - more along the lines of what quantum physicists talk about.
"Curating a healing experience and consciously creating this shift costs virtually nothing. It takes a little education, individual and collective practices, and aligning the culture, the "beingness," of the organization to support self-care. The goal of the research was to identify what creates a healing experience for staff and discover the resulting quantitative and qualitative business improvements. What we found went well beyond the goal of the research."
Self-care improves healing experience
The consensus of the research revealed that a healing experience happens and improves as a result of practicing self-care in all aspects of life. "You simply can't provide a healing and healthy experience for others unless you take care of yourself," said Cindy Bultena, RN, vice president, Patient Experience at Woodwinds Hospital, St. Paul, Minn.
"My ability to be more centered and focused expands my capacity to give to others and ultimately be more effective as an employee and human being," said Dawn Bazarko, MPH, RN, senior vice -president, Center for Nursing Advancement at United Health Group.
When interviewees talked about self-care they rarely mentioned traditional "wellness" programs or personal self-care practices. Interviewees voiced the necessity of having a supportive organizational culture grounded in self-care. "How interviewees described the ideal healing experience led to identifying the five dimensions of self-caring, which include the business model," O'Brien said. "Each dimension provides the necessary ingredients for the experience strategy."
While there has been much discussion about the value of "patient-centered care" and "patient experience," interviewees said that the staff experience is as important as the patient experience in providing a better healing environment.
"We have LEANed humanity out of healthcare," said Dr. Tim Culbert, medical director of Integrative Medicine at Children's Hospital, Minneapolis. "True reform is changing the practitioner experience at the same time we change the patient experience."
"All research participants said that it is vital that all staff, regardless of their role, make self-care a priority. They also confirmed that the culture needs to weave self-care into the organizational DNA - what we call the experience. The findings confirm a very basic premise: when people feel better, in all aspects, business measures improve."
"All five dimensions of self-care are integral to the overall experience strategy," added O'Brien. "The focus on promoting well-being and resilience of both the employees and the business transcends the current focus of most corporate wellness programs. Organizations in every industry can apply and benefit from these findings."