I know that you all know it well…effective communication in our busy lives is key. With so many ways we communicate, and so often those ways being electronic these days, it is easy for messages to get misinterpreted or ignored. I know folks who won’t pick up a phone anymore, but will respond to a text after letting their phone go to voice. What is with that? I tend to look for face time when possible, and hate running past folks with stuff like…”that supply you need will be here by 2:00!”
I recently got some great feedback after coordinating a regular “Pow Wow” in a center. I use the term with no disrespect, as the meeting is truly a positive gathering. The very informal meeting, held one morning a week, is only about 10-15 minutes in length, and is held prior to patient care. It was born from necessity in trying to communicate information to staff as they are really busy with distracted focus. I thought it would be only that…an information session in which “stuff” was provided as quick information relative to staffing, patient care, equipment and the like. What it has grown to be is something more. Here are some of the great things that have resulted from that 10 minute Pow Wow each week!
- Everyone is equal. There is no hierarchy in the Pow Wow, and all are encouraged to share information, issues, or concerns. After the topic items are reviewed, everyone has a chance to discuss items on their agenda and get input and feedback.
- It is a great time to hold a drill or brief in-service. Even though the meeting is planned, the drill is not, and as a scenario allows for all to indicate how they will respond and facilitates open discussion. It also provides an opportunity to present and review a new policy, request that everyone read some educational material as they have time and sign off, or review a regulatory standard or process.
- It provides a few minutes for sharing information. I like to call it “housekeeping” stuff. Keeping a running list of items to share during the week provides a quick agenda so everyone is up to date.
- It provides a forum to share physician concerns or feedback. Checking with your physicians to determine if they would like you to impart information to the staff for the Pow Wow gives them an opportunity to reflect and share things they would like the staff to know. It may provide them a way they may not normally take to relate a concern or share positive feedback.
- It empowers the staff. Everyone has an opportunity to be heard. It also can be a way to discourage negative informal discussion later. Bring it to the Pow Wow, or let it go.
We hold the Pow Wow in a standing circle, and there are no cell phones or interruptions. It is kept short and to the point so we can get on with the busy day. If you aren’t doing it already, I recommend you give it a try.