While we are a large system, each unit is a village unto itself where bonds are developed and everyone is working together for a common purpose. I remember the story of a colleague whose house caught fire and all her co-workers stepped in with offers of food, money, clothes and shelter. She also received money from United Way’s Inova employee fund. I hear touching stories all the time from our social workers, chaplains and human resource team about our “above and beyond” actions.
I also heard about someone in anesthesia who took it upon himself to get to the bottom of blood pressure cuffs that didn’t work right each and every time. The inconsistency was driving everybody nuts, so he spent hours researching and making calls. He called the manufacturer, other doctors; I think he even talked with someone in Germany. His persistence paid off. The issue was resolved and he shared the solution with everyone across the system. We all have moments like this when we cross the line from our “day job” to working with drive and passion for the common good.
Being in the healthcare field provides us with a unique opportunity to make a profound difference everyday. Many times we care for patients and families when they are most vulnerable. Even those of us who don’t work directly in patient care often feel that same passion. I think that this is the difference between having a job and having a calling.
At a job, we expect to get more than we receive. A calling is a bit counterintuitive. A calling is striving to serve others who need us. It’s expecting to give more than you expect to get back. Why would you sign up for such a thing? I think the answer is that we are all attracted to the opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life. At Inova, we have the unique opportunity to give people something they couldn’t get any other way – a connection with another human who cares.
W. Edwards Deming said, “All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride.” I would add to that most folks also ask for the chance to work for something larger than our own self interest. Long term, we learn that if we give to others, we get a whole lot more back. This calling is the blessing we have to share, and in my mind, it’s the blessing we HAVE to share!
What is your unique personal story? When did you feel the warmth of giving to someone else? When were you the recipient of a special measure of someone else’s caring touch, embrace or gesture? I would like to hear about your passion, your calling and the “power of love”!