March 2020. One year ago: when everything in our healthcare industry changed.
Recently, I had the pleasure to virtually meet with several of my TRIMEDX colleagues in one of our monthly cross-functional committees. I was asked to share updates from the field as it relates to how we are communicating and connecting across the organization as well as within the walls of our healthcare providers. I chose to look back at 2020 from the viewpoint of working in the field, with our technicians and serving our health systems throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
And now, after looking back, I find it amazing what we have been able to accomplish together.
Throughout the journey, we have continuously faced unknowns, yet we needed to respond and act along the way. This has required much patience, grace and understanding.
The resilience our TRIMEDX technicians showed in spending countless hours standing up units and outfitting them with new nurse call systems, beds, patient monitoring and more has been more than amazing. This ensured fully functioning units to serve our communities. In just a few short weeks, we stood up multiple units and partnered with hospital departments, leaders across health systems and vendors to be successful.
I have worked in the healthcare technology industry a while now, have a communications background and am currently working on my Ph.D. in health communication with a minor in health informatics. This helps me naturally see things from the perspective of our people and approach new challenges delicately.
But the experience of working through 2020 with our teams presented its own set of unique circumstances. As a society, we have never navigated anything like this.
Sharing information, communicating with the team and staying on track took on a whole new meaning. How we talk with one another, especially during times of chaos and uncertainty, requires focusing on our messages and conversations. And these times, as we have all experienced, have been comprised of some emotional instability as we search for answers.
In the field, our technicians work across different hospitals and health systems, serving clients in many locations and environments?from hospitals to clinics. Working through those differences along with staying informed on what to do and how to do it while navigating social norms was a challenge to say the least, but I felt obligated to rise up and do more to help our associates continue to succeed.
Sure, it was confusing. And, yes, it has been overwhelming.
While it was important to me that our team followed policies, procedures and guidelines to come and go from work physically healthy to maintain our level of service to clients, I also wanted to be sure we focused on individuals’ health and well-being.
I felt it was important to pull relevant daily information together for my team from Gov. Holcomb’s briefings, TRIMEDX corporate communications, updates within the health system and new information coming to us from the county. I was able to provide them with a summary of what they needed to know in addition to what I needed from them to stay on track in serving our clients. I didn’t want them feeling as though they were alone in sifting through so much information—they would feel lost. And I took the opportunity to ask associates to let me know what they didn’t know, so we could work together in finding solutions and a way to keep moving forward.
In my efforts to communicate with my team over the last year, I attempted to provide thought-provoking and inspiring messages. My goal was to ensure they understood my perspective was that I cared for them as people first.
Here’s an example: With uncertainty comes fear and with fear comes chaos—let us be certain that uncertainty is okay and when we choose to seek understandings rather than dwell in the unknown, we can make better choices individually and together. … Let’s make healthy choices together by social distancing, using proper hand washing procedures, and being intentional with our words and actions.
Throughout this uncertainty, I was so proud of how well our TRIMEDX associates shared concerns, jumped into help whenever asked, and adapted to our clients’ requests and questions along the way.
2020 introduced us all to so many terms, and some may even say a new language. Social distancing is part of our everyday lives, at least for now. Shortages in toilet paper and food were real. These required additional thought, outreach and support, so TRIMEDX associates knew we understood. If I could, I wanted to find ways to work with my team members, so they could continue supporting clients but also be sure they could be there for their own families during these times.
As we moved through the year, some information became part of our norms, whereas new situations changed the conversation, especially when vaccines became available. I was pleased when our team members were provided the opportunity to receive the vaccines, but it was also important to me to provide adequate information for associates to make the best decision for themselves. And if that meant suggesting they speak with their healthcare provider or the health system administering the vaccines, then I wanted to be sure they were provided the opportunity.
It’s been a journey. That’s what life is, but none of us would have ever anticipated getting into the conversations we have been fortunate to have with associates over the last year. It has given us the ability to connect on a deeper level, have more thoughtful dialogue and build trust among the team.
We had to accept the situation and respond in the best way possible to protect ourselves and continue serving our clients.
That patience and grace has allowed us to grow beyond what I ever thought was possible.
Lisann Goodin-Burton is a systems director for TRIMEDX at an Indianapolis health system.