“Mom, can you pick up some butter? Lots of butter!”
So it began last weekend when the kids decided it was time to start baking for the season. Rather than extolling on the virtues of kale or healthier options, I just smiled and nodded. I was instantly transported back to a farmhouse in the 1960’s. Many of my fondest memories growing up involve time spent in the kitchen baking together and then enjoying those treats with whomever happened to stop by. No invitations were required back then. Friends and family just arrived unannounced for conversation, maybe a game of cards and a cup of tea.
Clearly some of my family’s traditions continue today. My husband and I have taken the time to start new ones of our own as well. Simple things like family game night, scavenger hunts or having all your favourite meals the week of your birthday become things that we can depend on and look forward to. I know that these traditions are making lasting memories for our children; many of these are also steeped in values. I believe strongly that how you do things is as important as (if not more important than) what you do.
Just as traditions ground a family, values and culture provide the foundation for healthy organizations. At Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), we have a single set of values that define how we care for patients and families and how we treat one another as colleagues. Our values are represented by CKHA CARES and stands for Collaboration, Accountability, Respect, Excellence and Safety. When I meet with new staff at orientation each month I share with them what each of these means to me. I challenge them to think about their own personal values and how they are aligned with our hospital’s values. A good fit between personal and organizational values should be something that we all look for in our careers.
Organizational values are more than statements on a wall, they define our shared beliefs and our behaviours. We want to be able to see them in our practices and know that we can depend on them. I’m proud to say that I see people living our values every day at CKHA. From the board room and bedside to the boiler room and beyond, I see staff, physicians and volunteers who exemplify CKHA CARES.
Our vision of “Together, Growing a Healthier Community” will be achieved by honouring our values and building new traditions and ways of doing things to improve the care and service we provide. I don’t know what everyone’s traditions are when they come to work or practice at CKHA. What I do know is that we are richer for them and I am thankful that they have chosen to share their talents with us.
I’ll take this opportunity to wish everyone all the best for the coming season and the New Year.