Helping Givers Thrive in the Healthcare Environment

Mrs. H is a 54 year old single parent of four and a volunteer rural health worker in a community. She logs in before seven at the baranggay health station, checks her tasks for the day, then proceed checking the families she has worked with the past days.  Her daily routine consist of home visits, doing health teaching and family counselling until five in the afternoon. Then Mrs H goes back to the health station to do a quick summing up meeting with fellow volunteers  and get home before 7 PM. Mrs. H has been doing this for 20 +  years, surviving on community donations to run the rural health unit. “I am happy for the opportunity to help my community.” she said. As the community health indicators- maternal and infant mortality rates and malnutrition improved, the ranks of community health workers like Mrs. H dwindled. At the age of 65, Mrs. H had hypertension, type II diabetes, survived two cancer surgeries and had a string of hospital admissions from countless systemic and infectious diseases. After surviving each of these personal struggles, her lament is still ” I wish I could get out of this sickbed and do more!”

There’s a self assessment tool by Adam Grant to help identify if you are a giver or taker. That’s a self assessment tool though. How would you identify a giver in your health team?

T1: What’s your best qauge for identifying a giver?

Dr. N graduated at the top of his class and trained in one prestigious center for his specialty. He went back to his home province and built one of the most caring physician practice ever built around the area. He sees patients the whole day and is known to revisit admitted patients at night before going home.  He instructs floor nurses to call him anytime, for any updates on his patients.  He refuses any other engagements if it meant leaving his patients behind. ” I just want to give patients the care they deserved. That is the standard right?” he once told a colleague. Dr. N also made it his personal advocacy to help care givers survive a health system filled with stress and grief.  One night Dr. N collapsed inside his apartment’s bathroom and suffered a myocardial infarction. A colleague noticed he wasn’t answering calls and sent a hospital’s emergency response team to his apartment. He survived that event and slowed down for a while in his practice.

T2. How would you cultivate an environment supportive of a giver?

“Code! Bed 4!”  The floor nurse just called. The ward team on duty sprang into action, initiating ACLS with clockwork precision and reviving B4 within minutes from the call.  Besides patient Bed 4 is a grief stricken and apologetic Ms. R, the 45 year old companion of patient bed 4. “I’m sorry doctor, I fell asleep”. Ms. R has been manually “ambubagging” patient B4 for more than 24 hours already. “My husband drives a pedicab to earn and take cares of our 4 children. My siblings went home to raise money for my father’s hospitalization. I left my work as a house help to take care of my father”.  Unfortunately Mrs. R husband left her and their kids. She had to take care of her dad and left her children with their neighbours. “At least I still have my dad and children.” She told me. Not a single word came out of my mouth…

T3. How would you avoid or resolve giver fatigue in your team?

Mrs. H, Dr. N and Ms R are examples of what many call “givers”.  Givers help institutions, communities or families thrive, in the long run. The healthcare industry is full of giver stories that exemplifies the caring and giving characteristic of the profession. Whatever motivate givers is the subject of studies nowadays but for the most part, it is virtually unknown. Motivation is also the least of giver’s concern. Most givers are so consumed by the act of giving even their personal lives suffer in the short run.

Since givers are desirable part of any team, how do we help them thrive in the healthcare environment? Join #HealthXPh chat this Saturday November 25, 2017 9PM Manila Time to discuss ways on helping givers thrive in the healthcare industry. Here are our guide questions for the chat:

T1: What’s your best qauge for identifying a giver?
T2: How would you cultivate an environment supportive of a giver?
T3: How would you avoid or resolve giver fatigue in your team?