5 Things Healthcare HR Can Learn from Caitlyn Jenner
If you haven’t heard already, Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, stunned the world last Monday by debuting her long-anticipated transition to a female on the latest cover of Vanity Fair headlined, “Call me Caitlyn.” Not only did Jenner make history, but she opened a dialogue discussing the ominous side of struggling with gender identity and shone light on the issues currently facing the transgender community.
Jenner, once hailed as the greatest athlete in the world, was born and lived most of her life as a male. After 65 years, she felt it was time to explore her female identity. In her interview for Vanity Fair, she states, “If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,’ and I don’t want that to happen.”
After following Jenner’s heart-felt story, I noticed there were a few takeaways healthcare human resources leaders can gain as they aim to implement new policies and processes to improve the safety and care of their patients.
1. Stay True to Yourself & Your Mission
Staying ahead of the rapidly changing healthcare environment is no easy task. From ongoing regulatory changes to reimbursement challenges, employers can often lose sight of their mission and the core values their healthcare organization was built upon. Every action that your organization takes and every decision that is made should be aligned with your mission and core values. Arrange quarterly or semi-annual meetings with your team to review objectives and assess current methods to discover new ways to achieve missed goals as well as future ones.
2. Focus & Persistence
Although you may be faced with challenges and a few roadblocks along the way, as Jenner did during her journey, you must focus on the future of healthcare and prepare for the imminent changes and challenges. From the new payment model to ICD-10 implementation and other healthcare HR initiatives, it’s easy to lose sight of the fundamental purpose in healthcare: to ensure positive patient outcomes and improve patient care. Remain focused in your efforts and, like Jenner, you’ll find that persistence can help you accomplish your goals.
3. It’s Never Too Late
As technology continues to evolve and advance to adapt to healthcare’s increasing demands, you must continuously explore new and inventive ways to increase efficiency within your organization. It’s never too late for your team to consider investing in new systems and services, such as an applicant tracking system (ATS), which can help you attract and acquire top talent. Staying on trend with the latest systems and processes enables you or your team to gain an advantage in a very competitive market.
4. Honesty & Transparency
Initiating an environment of transparency between patients and staff is key for organizational success because it promotes communication, shared learning and trust. Fostering a two-way communication allows healthcare organizations to collect candid feedback from patients to improve care and safety. Leaders should be transparent with patients and their families when a safety event occurs, otherwise known as medical error disclosure. “If you’re serious about safety, create a disclosure program to share with the patient and family what happened,” says Dr. Michael McKenna, Vice President of Medical Management and CMO of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, in a 2013 Becker’s Healthcare article. “Through disclosure, you can more readily discuss [the problem] as an organization and make the changes to create a safer environment.”
Inspire others to do the right thing through leading by example. A team is only as good as its leader. Encourage ongoing professional development through continuing education courses. It ensures your employees’ competency in practice and increases their commitment to their profession and practice. Additionally, recognize your team and their efforts when a task is carried out successfully—a simple gesture like “good job” can go a long way. Remind them what initially inspired them to consider a career in healthcare.
I hope Jenner’s story not only inspires you, but also reminds you that it’s never too late to achieve your dreams. I would like to conclude by sharing the tweet that followed her Vanity Fair debut:
I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can't wait for you to get to know her/me.
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 1, 2015