Posted June 27, 2012

How Gratitude Can Reignite Your Passion

By Rich Bluni, R.N.

Total run time: 5:59

I'm passionate about passion in healthcare. One of the ways to ensure that your passions for your work stay strong is to embed gratitude into your daily work life. However, I've found that people in healthcare are uncomfortable with receiving gratitude. I think we've become conditioned in healthcare to feel like we're "just doing our job" and therefore, it's hard to accept gratitude from others. Try telling your friend how grateful you are for the work they do and for the opportunity to work with them every day. How will they most likely react? While it's possible they may call HR for you to have a toxicology screen drawn, the most likely reaction will be that they will feel embarrassed or just mumble; "it was no big deal." Yes, we are uncomfortable with expressions of gratitude!

There are two tactics we use at Studer Group® that connect to the concept of gratitude. The first is rounding on staff. We recommend leaders round on their staff and ask questions like "What is working well?" Another way to ask that same question is "What are you grateful for at work?" By asking about gratitude, it places the emphasis on what they really love and enjoy about their work. After they answer you, and if they're a high performer, be sure to tell them how grateful you are for the work they do.

The second tactic is thank you notes. Many people will tell you that they have every thank-you note they've ever received during their healthcare career. Thank-you notes put a tangible and meaningful token of gratitude right in the hands of those who need it most. Perhaps you can think of someone who makes a difference and for whom you are grateful for? If so, take a few minutes to thank them and write them a note.

Here's another way to think about this concept of gratitude. How often do you see yellow cars on the road? My guess is not very often. It's a fairly rare color for a car. So, now picture a yellow car...go ahead, I'll wait. Now, today and for the next few days you will begin to see yellow cars everywhere! It's not because I'm making them magically appear. It's because when the image of yellow cars is suggested to you, your brain begins to pay attention to them and you can't help but notice them. The same idea applies to gratitude. The more frequently you put gratitude front of mind and share your gratitude with others, the more it becomes a part of your daily life. When gratitude touches a part of your life at work, it changes all it touches.

Gratitude is a "culture-curer". The challenging nature of healthcare makes it essential that we change the way we think in order to make our work life better and keep our passion high. Try a dose of gratitude. Notice the "yellow cars" in your life.


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