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Got Joy? Why do you do the work you do?

“Joy in work – or the lack thereof – not only impacts individual staff engagement and satisfaction, but also patient [and customer] experience, quality of care, patient safety, and organizational performance.”

Perlo J. et al: IHI Framework for Improving Joy in Work. Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 2017


The little girl with polio in the picture above taking her first steps without crutches more than fifty years ago is on the history wall at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans (CHNOLA) to remind the people who work there why they do what they do.

And to remind them that, no matter how sad or overwhelmed they might personally feel on any given day, the kids and the families that they serve deserve to have them do their work with joy.

You can feel the presence or absence of joy within minutes of walking into a hospital or any other business, can’t you? It’s reflected in how (or even if) people great each other in hallways.

Walk in the front door of CHNOLA and you won’t take very many steps before someone says, “Welcome to Children’s Hospital!”

If you were to say “Who Dat?” (you’ll understand that if you are a New Orleans Saints football fan) in one of the corridors, you will hear the people around you loudly reply “We Dat!” Those two words – We Dat! – convey the spirit of the CHNOLA Culture of Ownership; whether it’s picking up a piece of paper on the floor or comforting a crying child, “we dat,” not someone else.

If you attend the daily huddle of the Environmental Services Department you’ll see the incredible joy they put into their daily ritual of reciting The Pickle Pledge.

At CHNOLA, as at every other children’s hospital, not every kid has a happy outcome, but even then a way can be found to create joy. One of my first weeks at CHNOLA a little boy was being sent home with new foster parents after having spent the first 18 months of his life as an inpatient. But they didn’t just send him home – they sent him home with a New Orleans second line celebration. Tell me – how long do you think those new foster parents, both of whom were in tears, will remember this first trip home with their new little boy.

Last week was a big week for Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. They were recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in New Orleans AND seven of their RNs were recognized for being among Louisiana’s Great 100 Nurses.

Do you see the pattern there?

At Values Coach our purpose is transforming people through the power of values and transforming organizations through the power of people. We do that by helping leaders build a stronger Culture of Ownership on a Foundation of Values. 

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