Dr. Paulus told me that after seeing the stress level of doctors and nurses and the frustrations they dealt with every day, the board unanimously agreed to a multimillion-dollar program to improve the usability of the electronic health record and fix inefficient and frustrating workflow processes. They also approved funding for additional behavioral health services in the ED, for which the need was evident during their shadowing experience.
How can this idea help prevent burnout? Initiatives like Immersion Day can bridge the gap that exists in many organizations between the daily world of the care providers and the board members, executives, and legislators who make decisions that profoundly affect that world. As Dr. Paulus told me, "It's easy to disrespect someone you don't know and have stereotyped. A key solution is to have people spend time together and listen to each other long enough to avoid discounting and stereotyping."
When administrators and board members can see the downstream, longer term effects of their decisions about resources, staffing, performance metrics, organizational priorities, and work policies, they can begin to appreciate what research in other industries has already shown: valuing employees, through improving their work experience and other means, makes good business sense and results in better overall performance. And it’s the right thing to do.
What might administrators and board members at your organization learn if they shadowed a clinician for a day? What would you most like them to see?