Friday, December 5, 2008
Stress, stress, and more stress
Stress, stress, and more stress. The life of a rural hospital CEO can sometimes be rather stressful. This week, the focus has been on dealing with the difficult financial challenges we are facing. Thirty-five percent below cost Medicare payment, a very tough economy and lower patient volumes all contribute to a big negative bottom line! We are determined to keep our focus on our mission because we know the work we do is vital to individuals, families and the community as a whole. We also know that it is our employees, physicians, volunteers, and board members that make that difference. The work we do is fundamentally about people interacting with compassion and skill. It is deeply personal. So too the business side of a hospital can’t lose sight of the people. I take my job seriously when it comes to the people who work here. I know they depend on the hospital as an employer. And the hospital depends on our people to bring our mission of service to life. It is really that simple…but often stressful trying to make it all work.
I use HeartMath, a routine massage, a glass of good wine and good food, time with family and my faith to help with this load. I also look for humor in my day! This week, I spent a few hours with Mark Doll (our facilities management director) working on our waiting rooms. It seems chairs had been mixed about and the spaces simply looked a bit disheveled. We moved things around and both felt much better about the spaces we have people waiting in at GRMC. We did find two really old, and I mean ancient, patient room lounge chairs in one of our lobby spaces. They were really ugly. We were going to simply retire them. Then we had a brainstorm…let’s put them in someone’s office. We headed to our imaging director, Kevin Kincaid’s office and removed his side chairs and replaced them with these two “vintage” and/or “classic” chairs with a message of congratulations. Well, when I went to my car this afternoon, on a tip that I had a low tire, the picture here is what I found! What a belly laugh…thanks Kevin for adding to my stress management program. By-the-way, I bet you didn’t get that up on my car by yourself! Mark…
I am very confident we will make it through this challenging financial time – simply because we have great people at GRMC. I am proud to stand side by side with them! (Even the jokers in the crowd.)
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