The Gratitude PDSA

The Gratitude PDSA

Every day at 4 PM, I try to listen in to a leadership meeting about what is going on at CHC.  Last week, a new idea was presented.  At the annual Dental Staff dinner, there was a discussion about practicing gratitude.  People who make an effort to regularly be grateful for what they have tend to be more optimistic and to spread joy.  The idea was presented that the leadership team should make an effort to write down three things they are grateful for every day.  To facilitate this, time is being set aside in the 4 PM meetings to do this.  These are intended to be personal reflections and not necessarily shared with the team. 

Since I normally multitask as I listen to the 4 PM meeting, and since I was particularly busy the first day the idea was presented, I used the few minutes to complete a few other tasks.  I suspect that there is something that can be learned even from that.  I wonder how many other people think they have just too much to do to take time out and be grateful.

Another idea that was discussed was about learning to reframe things, to look for the positive side of a negative event, for the “silver lining”.  combining these ideas, I’m going to take a few moments to create a blog post of things that I’m grateful for, as part of the team effort as well as a chance to find a positive side to being so busy.

I am the social media manager for a Federally Qualified Health Center.  There is a lot to be grateful in this.  I am grateful that I have the ability to use my skills and do something I love, writing and participating in social media as part of my job, and that job is about helping improve the lives of people around me.  I often speak with people who are out of work or are frustrated by jobs they find meaningless.  I’m truly fortunate to have a great job.

Related to this, I’m grateful that the place I work is committed to innovation and quality.  Just as CHC has led the way with a Family Nurse Practitioner residency, and continues to lead the way with programs like the Weitzman Symposium, it is leading the way in the use of social media.  It is great to be surrounded by people committed to innovating new ways to improve people’s lives.

To tie all of this together, I’m also grateful that I’m not alone in getting CHC to lead in social media.  Recently, Amy Taylor asked if she could put up a blog post about employees that should be recognized for their great work.  I jumped at the idea and am hoping that we can regularly get our leadership to express their gratitude for the jobs well done by people at CHC in blog posts here.

I refer to this as The Gratitude PDSA.  PDSA means, Plan, Do, Study, Act.  The idea is to come up with a plan to make an incremental improvement, execute the plan, study what worked, and what didn’t and then take what works to become part of another PDSA or ultimately incorporate the best parts in to the daily lives of everyone in the agency.

I’m not sure how planned out this PDSA was, or what is in place to study it.  As a more formal exercise, it would be interesting to track burnout rates of staff, attitudes, how happy staff are, etc. as part of the PDSA, not only for the people who are practicing gratitude on a daily basis, but of those around the gratitude practitioners.  On the other hand, it is also probably really important to start practicing gratitude on a regular basis as quickly as possible.  There is no time like the present to work on becoming more grateful.

So, are you practicing gratitude?  How’s it going?  What else can we look at as we try to improve the quality of all our lives being being more grateful?

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