Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Ceremony

This past weekend, I was fortunate to witness a marriage between two people of different cultural and religious backgrounds. What was most fascinating to me was how the cultures were able to be combined into a crisp ceremony which brought out the key and most important elements for all to witness..the legal union of a couple.

As an attendee at this ceremony, I could not help but think that there must have been a lot of focus on making sure all the "key players" (in this case family, friends, religious leaders, musicians, caterers, bridesmaids, groomsmen) and "perspectives" (e.g., the different cultural and religious beliefs) were considered prior to the actual ceremony.

In the hospital world, we all seem to understand the need to provide a great experience for our patients. When you think about it, most of our patients really value these seven things:

  • Quality of care and safety
  • Respect: an individual and their time
  • Communication
  • Pride and Spirituality
  • Coordinated care
  • Facility
  • Cost
Many of the same things our patients value in our hospital are the same things they value outside of the hospital...

Getting back to the ceremony: first of all, we all know that cost plays a part in a wedding, but that is often understood and accepted as long as the other values are met. The wedding took place in a beautiful facility. But what mattered even more was that the room where the ceremony took place was perfectly set-up to create a warm and inviting environment for the marriage.

The designated food was extremely important and there were two different caterers to ensure the quality and safety of the food preparation. The ceremony and speeches during the dinner really showed the respect that everyone had for each other as individuals.

There was so much coordination throughout the evening and it was so well orchestrated. In the program and throughout the ceremony and celebration, the religious leaders communicated what was happening and why and how it would have a positive impact on our marrying couple. There was a pride in sharing both cultures' viewpoints and traditions. Amazingly, the program was similar to an operational tactical plan. It really explained things well and helped shape the overall experience of the ceremony. The end result was the happiness, safety and protection of the couple. It was such an inviting event. It reminded me of the time when I worked for a Michigan hospital and we set up an interfaith meditation room. The VP of Mission Services, at the time, shared with me that she wanted the room to represent one key value: "We Welcome All."

Our hospital also has many "key players" and "perspectives" which we must consider before delivering care to our patients. We strive to stay focused on those core values for our patients. Every day, there are opportunities to lose focus on these things our patients value most. Therefore, every day we continue to challenge the way we do things and remember why we do them. We constantly try to work together even with our different backgrounds and perspectives. As it was for the couple I mentioned, we continue to strive for the safety, protection and happiness of those we serve.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and comments. Let me know if there are some other key things you think patients value most.

1 comment:

  1. I read this for the first time today and can truly say this is great. It's comes across as personal and in a way that I can relate. I love the analogies. i've even put a shortcut on my desktop. Thanks for this new form of communication.