Healthcare Blog

Archive for September, 2015

Life’s In-Betweens

Posted by capcityspeakers on September 30, 2015

by Ron Culberson

What are you doing with your in-betweens?
I’m not talking about the cream in between the wafers of an Oreo. And I’m not talking about the commercials in between television shows. I’m not even talking about the curious ball of lint you find in between your toes.

I’m talking about those moments in life that only seem to be filling the time in between more important experiences.

You may be familiar with the poem called “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. If not, check it out. The essence of this beautifully written piece is that our lives are represented on a tombstone by a birth date, a death date and a dash in between. The poem makes us wonder what we are doing with the dash since that is the essence of our lives. I suspect that when we get to the end of our lives, it will make perfect sense. Yet, right now is when we should be considering our dashes.

If we take that concept one step further, we will notice that much of our time is spent in seemingly insignificant moments I call in-betweens. When we’re driving home from work, the in-between happens from the point we leave the office until we get home. When we go to the doctor, the in-between occurs in the waiting room. When we buy a lottery ticket, the in-between lasts from the minute we pay until we lose. And every in-between, just like our overall dash, is important.

As a kid, one of the hardest in-between for me was from dinnertime on Christmas Eve until 7:00 a.m. on Christmas Day which was my parents’ absolute earliest approved wake-up time. During that in-between, I was a mess. I’d fall asleep dreaming of luxurious gifts I would never receive only to wake up 20 minutes later and realize that I still had hours to go until morning. The misery came from lying in my bed where the only thing I could do was lie in the bed and think about the fact that the only thing I could do was lie in the bed and think.

One summer, I worked as a flagman on a road construction crew. I stood on secluded back roads for ten hours at a time. Some days, I would only see one or two cars pass all day. The in-between on those days felt like an eternity as I stared at the road, threw rocks at the fence, and had extended conversations with turkeys in the woods. In case you’re wondering, I do a spot-on turkey impression. Just saying.

In life, our in-betweens often feel boring but sometimes they’re painful. Several years ago, my wife was experiencing some abdominal discomfort. After a series of tests, the doctor diagnosed several possible causes, including cancer. The only way to figure out the cause was to perform surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery could not be scheduled for six weeks. This in-between was excruciating for my wife. All she could think about was the possibility of cancer. Luckily, the surgery revealed endometriosis instead of cancer. And while she still had a few challenges to overcome, the absence of cancer was certainly a relief.

We encounter many in-betweens in life. In fact, they probably take up more time than the events on either side. And what we do with those in-betweens determines the depth and richness we experience. To prevent missing these opportunities and to truly make the most of them, we must examine the in-betweens along the way rather than simply seeing them in our rear view mirrors.

I suggest there are two ways to make the most of our in-betweens. The first is through attention and the second is through action.

Attention is where our focus lies. For instance, if I’m sitting on the beach engaged in a conversation with my wife and an attractive woman in a skimpy bikini walks by, my attention better be on the conversation with my wife. Yet, it’s easy for us to become distracted by, well, the many distractions in our lives. We’re distracted from our families by work demands. We’re distracted from intellectual enrichment by reality television. And we’re distracted from wellness by unhealthy habits. Distractions are everywhere and it’s usually easier to see them after we’ve been distracted.

The key to attention is to maintain our presence in every moment — to be aware of where our focus is. Unfortunately, we tend to function through habits and routines. For instance, when I go to the dentist, I usually grab whatever magazine is available. And by “whatever”, I mean People. There are very few intellectual, psychological or social benefits to this magazine. As an alternative, I could strike up a meaningful conversation with one of the other dental cases waiting with me. Or, I could bring reading material of my own. Or I could use my laptop to finish the blog that was due last week. Attention means being aware of the opportunities rather than just functioning on habit or mindlessness.

Action, on the other hand, means using our attention to do something. For instance, if we’re worried about upcoming test results or about a meeting for which we don’t feel prepared, it’s easy to let our worrisome thoughts fill our day rather than taking advantage of the time we have to do something worthwhile and productive. The thoughts distract us from more positive thinking and lead us to a less productive experience.

I recently attended a presentation where the speaker suggested that we have five seconds to take action on an idea or thought. If we delay and don’t take the right action, then we risk avoiding the more beneficial outcomes such as getting some exercise or eating a carrot instead of a Snickers bar.

If we embrace the idea that we have control over our thoughts and our actions, we then have the ability to change our experiences. And that’s pretty darn cool. But, we must practice this to be effective. It’s tough to train our minds to do things differently. Meditation, therapy, and self-help books are tools that can help us. As Nike says, we have to “just do it.”

The in-betweens in life often appear as momentary windows of time and if we’re not careful, we’ll see them as insignificant experiences. However, these experiences add up to an important part of our lives and can ultimately define our existence. So, with a little focus and an investment in every experience, the in-betweens become more significant and make our lives richer.

So, I suggest that instead of running around our in-betweens, we make a dash to embrace them.

With a master’s degree in social work, Ron Culberson spent the first part of his career working in a large hospice organization as a clinical social worker, middle manager, and senior leader.  As a speaker, humorist, and author of “Do it Well. Make it Fun. The Key to Success in Life, Death, and Almost Everything in Between”, he has delivered more than 1,000 presentations to associations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporations.  His mission is to change the workplace culture so that organizations are more productive and staff are more content.  He was also the 2012-2013 president of the National Speakers Association and is a recognized expert on the benefits of humor and laughter.

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The Power In Relationships

Posted by capcityspeakers on September 23, 2015

by Kathy Brown

“We are as rich as our relationships” according to Nido Qubein. Well said my friend! True success lies in our relationships with others. In order to have good relationships with others become interested in what others are doing and be interesting yourself.

We need a customer service mentality in our relationships. Make enthusiasm a way of life. Be contagious. It is harder to be enthusiastic when you’re tired, broke, or bored. Don’t catch other peoples lack of enthusiasm.

Life is a self fulfilling prophecy. There is a power in belief. you become what you think about. Transform a drab existence into a dazzling adventure! It takes time and a commitment to nature friendships. We become like the people we associate with so attract abundant thinking people. People who have scarcity thinking are skeptical and critical. My advice is to over communicate and under criticize. Praises are Wages!

How much harder and longer would you work for someone who appreciates not only what you Do but even more importantly, who you ARE.

Be authentic. Be yourself….unless you’re a Jerk, then be someone else. He,he.

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Leading the Patient Experience Takes Good Communication

Posted by capcityspeakers on September 17, 2015

by Kristin Baird

A few days ago I was talking with a group of leaders from the same organization. I had asked a question about their service recovery tracking tool. Everyone except one person said that they didn’t have one. The single individual who said that they had a tool was the one who had launched it. He told his colleagues, “I sent out a memo.”

This happens all the time. Someone sends out an email and thinks that they have communicated. Well, they did send a memo. The problem is that we are all so bombarded with emails that we often skim past the ones that don’t rise to the top of our priority list.

The value of cascading communication and face-to-face conversation cannot be over stated, especially if you are trying to transform culture and engage people at all levels. If something has the potential for improving the patient experience, let everyone know, but try to use a variety of communication methods and don’t expect that one message will achieve all your communication goals.

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Quote for the Day

Posted by capcityspeakers on September 16, 2015

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”      ~Buddha

tranquil waters


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Keep the Connection

Posted by capcityspeakers on September 10, 2015

by Donna Cardillo

nurse patient

One of the most important things you can do as a professional nurse is to be “present” in your work by staying focused on and fully aware that you are charged with caring for a fellow human being. That individual has a life and existence outside of the healthcare setting. And yet it is so easy to lose that perspective when you get caught up in performing tasks, following a routine, and trying to stick to a schedule. At the end of the day, it is the personal connection—or lack of it—that matters most to the nurse and the patient.

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7 Thoughtful Ways to Stress Less

Posted by capcityspeakers on September 3, 2015

By Colette Carlson

How many of you want to grow old faster? What, not takers?!

Stress blog

Well, did you know you accelerate your aging when you regularly experience stress or anxiety? Seriously, if you’re too tired or too wired, take note of the seven strategies here to help you stress a little less:

  1. Give up the daily guilt.

Let’s get some perspective. Too many of us waste time feeling guilty that our life is out of balance, but you’ll never feel balanced as long as you have goals and dreams. Why? There’s always way too much to do, to learn, to accomplish. If you’re like me and have passion for your work, it’s easy to lose yourself in your tasks and projects since they bring you joy. At a certain point, however, I have to consciously ditch work to spend time with friends and family (minus my phone).Quit thinking you need to “touch” everything each day and look at how “balanced” your life is over a period of time, not a specific day of the week. Take this one step farther and realize that it’s about being balanced over your lifetime. It all evens out.

  1. Realize good is good enough.

Any other recovering perfectionists out there? Stop wasting time creating the “perfect” proposal, letter or marketing brochure, seeking the ideal gift for your nephew, the best comforter for your bedroom, or the supremely clean house. Stop at 80 percent and move on to the next task. Otherwise, hours of your life are wasted and nobody notices the difference but you. Get over yourself and take a step closer to acceptance.

  1. Snooze, or lose.

Yeah, I can hear you stress puppies already: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” But the point is you will be dead sooner as a result. Exhaustion is not a badge of honor. Without sleep, you are worthless to yourself and those around you.

Staying up even one hour later to finish a task or watch Grey’s Anatomy costs you more than your health. Try irritability, trouble retaining information, minor illness, poor judgment, increased mistakes and even weight gain. A Harvard Business Review study of 975 global managers determined that 45 percent of high-earning managers are too pooped to even speak to their spouse or partner after work. This is your wake-up call to get your ZZZ’s.

  1. Scale back on drive time.

When choosing a new doctor, dentist, hairdresser, whatever, find one as close to home as possible. Bonus: with gas so expensive, think of the savings! The same holds true when finding activities for any family members—stay local. Sure the ideal preschool, soccer club or SAT study group may be a longer commute, but add up all the drive time in advance and ask if it’s really worth it before committing to rush-hour jams and early alarm clocks.

Still determined? Set up carpools and recognize you don’t have to be at every activity. Sure it’s fun to participate, but your child will not turn into a serial killer if you miss a few games or performances.

  1. Say no to others so you can say yes to you.

Are you turning down distractions disguised as opportunities? Are you being asked to join social sites that are leaving you no time to network with the people under your roof? Are you still knocking yourself out to host the annual Labor Day party when all you see is the labor ahead?

It’s not selfish to say no to others when the intent is to clear some space to say yes to you. Life does go on even if you aren’t involved in every activity, party or event. Look at it this way: Being missed makes you more interesting and appreciated when you do show up.

  1. Power off.

The quickest way to gain downtime is to turn off the phone, TV and computer and enjoy the lack of distractions. I’ve spoken to people who feel anxious when their DVR is overloaded with recordings and they don’t have the time to watch their shows. C’mon, do you really need to know who’s getting kicked off the island or what has-been star can dance?

Some people say TV relaxes them, but I believe it’s more of a habit than a way to lower stress. TV just numbs you, and when the show’s over, your pressures resurface. Same with the computer. Sure, it’s great to connect with old friends on Facebook, but do you really need to know what someone ate for dinner?

Rather than screen sucking, grab that unopened book from your shelf, call a good friend or grab a cup of your favorite beverage and reflect on your day.

  1. Embrace the messiness.

Having been raised by not one but two neat freaks, my old mantra was: There is a place for everything and everything belongs in its place. When I was single, the television remote stayed in the same spot, my pillows were strategically placed, and the countertops were void of dishes.

Now that I share my life with a family, the opposite is true. My new mantra: A clean house doesn’t define you; it confines you. Even with twice-monthly help, my house is usually messy—not dirty, but messy… big difference and one I’m learning to live with if I want to have a life outside of cleaning.

Embrace the messiness. It comes with the territory and means you’re leading a busy, fulfilling life—not a Stepford existence.

And if all else fails, remember you’re too blessed to be stressed! It’s impossible to feel stress and be grateful at the same time. When you’re on overwhelm, simply take a deep breath and count your blessings—works every time.

Source: Success

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