“The test of a civilized person is first self-awareness…” ~ Clarence Day
As you probably know, the Joint Commission has mandated civility training for all healthcare organizations in order to combat the rise of intimidating and disruptive behaviors among healthcare employees. Civility training is tricky…it’s not like teaching a nursing skill or the facts about a disease process. To truly embrace civility, your employees have to become more self-aware. Here is some information you can use to start the conversation about self-awareness with your staff:
Self-awareness is when you realize that, although you are not the center of the universe, everything you say and do can affect those around you.
True self-awareness comes when you recognize that your own thoughts and feelings can lead you to act in a way that is either helpful or harmful to others.
Here’s an example of how your thoughts and feelings can lead you to act in a way that is harmful to others: You just paid your monthly bills and realize you don’t have enough money to sign your daughter up for the softball team she wants to join. You are stressed, embarrassed and angry. You arrive at work to find a group of co-workers laughing in the break room. Their happiness annoys you and you lash out.
Here’s an extreme example of a lack of self-awareness: Recently, radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh learned that a female Georgetown law student spoke out in support of mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives. Her stance on the matter angered the talk show host, so he went on the air and called her a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Then he demanded she post online videos of herself having sex. His words had a negative effect on his listeners, his sponsors, the woman to whom he was referring, his career and society at large. In his apology he said, “In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.” Although he was further attacked for a lack of sincerity in his apology, his sentiment was right. Whether you agree with him or not, he has the right to disagree with the woman’s stance. However, the words he chose were harmful and did nothing to help matters in this situation. He was upset about the woman’s views and he lashed out without thinking about the consequences.
The bottom line is this: It’s okay to feel stressed, angry and embarrassed. It’s okay to disagree and speak your views. However, when you have self-awareness (aka civility), you know how to keep your thoughts and feelings from translating into harmful words or actions against others.
If you would like more ideas for promoting a civil workplace and fulfilling the Joint Commission-required civility training, please check out a new book published by In the Know: The Real Healthcare Reform: How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career. It provides targeted, action-oriented information and specific exercises to help healthcare workers understand the epidemic of incivility, why it is happening and what they can do right now to make it stop. You and your employees will find the tactics and strategies needed to put civility to work and resolve the toxic atmosphere that may be polluting your workplace.
Written in a friendly, conversational tone, the book is appropriate for all healthcare employees, regardless of their discipline or how long they have been on the job. You can utilize it with your CNAs, nurses, therapists, social workers and more! If you have any questions about The Real Healthcare Reform or would like information about bulk discounts for your workplace, please call us at 877-809-5515.