Joanne's Journal - Thursday, September 28, 2017
On the morning of Wednesday, September 13th, many of us arrived on the Lebanon campus feeling a need to better connect with those colleagues with whom we spend most of our waking hours. We greeted each other at the door, and we thanked one another for jobs well done. Although the incident a day prior had left us collectively shaken, it also reminded us that the care we provide every day isn’t only for our patients, but also for each other. We must now build on that energy and understanding of who we are. I am committed to engaging the people we serve, and our colleagues. I know you are too.
Earlier this week, I attended general orientation on the Lebanon campus. Carol Majewski, Director of the Office of Patient Experience, did a great job talking about the importance of eye contact, smiles and offering assistance to patients. That is an important driver of the patient experience, but “connecting with each other” is also a powerful driver of the employee experience. A great example of our employees engaging with each other and with our patients can be seen in the video in the first story below, which was featured at the Service Club Dinners – events that celebrate our employees’ years of service on the Lebanon campus. I guarantee it will make you smile.
As I’ve been getting around to meet many of you in your departments, your clinic sites or in the cafeteria, you may have noticed that I have a friendliness affliction. There is no one in an elevator that will be spared from my small talk, or an individual walking down the corridor who will be shielded from my eye contact and greeting. You might as well give up communing with your phone right now! The reality is, when you display sincerity when greeting colleagues with a positive attitude, everyone has a better day. Engagement for employees is absolutely connected to a sense of belonging, being recognized and feeling like they are part of something bigger than any one person could do alone. The event that took place inside of our collective home this month was a tragedy, but it has also created an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to each other. Let’s run with it!
You’re My Kaleidoscope: D-H Staff Movin’ and Groovin’
More than 450 staff in 40 departments and 62 teams on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) Lebanon campus participated in a video – by that we mean showed their dance moves, waved, laughed, and sang – to a song called “Kaleidoscope” by a group called A Great Big World. The video, which was produced by the D-H Creative Production team, was debuted at the recent Service Club dinners as a way to show Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s gratitude for all that our employees do on a daily basis for our patients, their families and for one another.
Our interpretation of the song’s lyrics is a powerful statement about how important our employees are to D-H, to our patients and to each other. We hear from patients every day that D-H employees bring hope and meaning to their lives with a simple touch of the hand, a cheerful smile, or comforting words spoken with sincere empathy and understanding. Just as a kaleidoscope brings colorful shapes and images to a viewer, these simple moments from D-H staff can change a patient’s outlook from one of anxiety and fear to that of hope and optimism – literally “turning my life around” just as depicted in the song’s lyrics.
The next project for the D-H Creative Production team is to create a similar video, featuring employees across the D-H system, including our affiliates.
D-H in the Community: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Launches Action Steps for Mental Health Awareness in New Hampshire Public Schools
You may have heard about the 5 Signs of emotional suffering through Change Direction—a national organization dedicated to changing the culture surrounding mental illness. Now, Dartmouth-Hitchcock is giving kids the tools to R.E.A.C.T. In partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Education, the R.E.A.C.T. awareness initiative offers students tips to deal with signs of emotional suffering, and directs them to resources for support and help.
New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is the first commissioner in the country to focus on mental health awareness in schools, and last week Commissioner Edelblut spoke enthusiastically about this new collaboration with Dartmouth-Hitchcock in an interview with Jack Heath of WGIR Radio. You can listen to the interview here.
On Thursday, September 21, Edelblut joined D-H Senior Director of Public Affairs John Broderick, and D-H Vice President of Communications and Marketing Josh McElveen at Sanborn High School in Kingston, NH, to present the R.E.A.C.T. initiative.
Broderick has been reaching out to high school students, parents and professionals across New Hampshire to help change the conversation on mental health. “You are the least judgmental generation in the history of this country,” Broderick said to a packed auditorium of students at Kingston, “You have the ability to change the culture and the way mental health is viewed.”
The presentation drew a powerful reaction from students, as the majority of them stood when Broderick asked if mental illness had touched their own lives.
“We are making a difference,” said Edelblut. “With the great support of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, we will continue to enhance the mental health and well-being of our children. We are giving our kids the tools they need to address a problem that touches countless families.”
Broderick noted that the R.E.A.C.T. posters are in the process of being posted in every public school in New Hampshire and very soon the campaign will expand into Vermont public schools.
Patient Experience Moments: D-H Patients Participate in Filming of TV Ad
Twenty patients and their families, their D-H care providers and other D-H support staff participated in the filming of a television commercial on the front lawn outside of the main DHMC entrance on September 21, as part of a brand awareness campaign that will launch in October.The TV ad featured these grateful patients and their families, along with the letters/comments that they’ve shared with D-H for the patient story displays. Susan Sullivan is one of those thankful patients who drove to DHMC with her husband, Jack, from Maine, so they could participate in the filming of the ad. The day spent at DHMC was even more poignant because it landed on the third anniversary of Susan’s heart attack, which caused her to become a D-H patient in the first place.
On September 20, 2014, the Sullivans were at the New Hampshire Highland Games at Loon Mountain, when Susan went into cardiac arrest. She was airlifted to DHMC by DHART and was cared for by the ICU and Cardiology teams. September 21st is the first time Susan’s husband, Jack, walked in the doors of Dartmouth-Hitchcock to an unknown future. Susan’s thank you letter to D-H starts: “I want to thank you for giving me my life back to me. I would not be here if I had not received immediate and excellent care given upon my arrival via the DHART helicopter.” (See Susan’s letter, right)
The goal of the D-H brand campaign is to re-engage with the general public – with patients and non-patients – to showcase our compassionate care teams and dedicated staff, in addition to our exceptional clinical expertise and state-of-the-art technology.
Affiliates in Action: VNH Wings of Hope
On September 9, more than 400 butterflies were released at Colburn Park in Lebanon, NH at Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire’s (VNH) 8th Annual Wings of Hope memorial event to support VNH Hospice programs. Families, friends, VNH staff and the community came together to celebrate life and honor lost loved ones. It was captivating and magical watching the delicate winged creatures as they launched and softly danced away into the sky. There were smiles and laughter, tears of sadness and joy, and above all a feeling of peace.
In addition to the butterfly release, the day featured inspirational reflections from VNH Board of Trustees Chair Gary Mayo and VNH Hospice Spiritual Care Coordinators Gary Shapiro and Sue Church. The day also featured performances from vocalist Kattie Russ, the Kurn Hattin Select Choir and Scottish Highland bagpiper Matt Phelps.
Proceeds from Wings of Hope support VNH Hospice care across the region.
Social Scoop: Art Fest Bridge Jam
Thank you to D-H volunteers for participating in this community event on Saturday, September 23 on the Bridge Street Bridge in Manchester, NH. A number of local artists, photographers and musicians were spotlighted in a celebration of community. Proceeds from the day’s events were given to local organizations to help fight the heroin/opioid crisis in Manchester.
CHaD Storybook Ball
On Saturday, September 23,nearly 400 passengers enjoyed a magical voyage at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) Storybook Ball at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH. More than 35 tables were showcased at this unique fundraising event to support CHaD. Each table reflected a beloved children’s book centered on the theme of travel.
Doors opened early to the event’s VIP guests, CHaD patients, who were greeted by Cinderella, Snow White and other favorite characters. CHaD ambassadors—who were current and past patients—voted on their favorite table. In celebration of CHaD’s milestone 25th anniversary, CHaD director Dr. Keith Loud honored Pam Thompson, the organization’s co-founder and current trustee of Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and led a standing ovation for CHaD patient and two-time cancer survivor Avery Forestall. By the end of the evening, over $197,000 was raised to support our CHaD patients and critical programs.