No matter how intentional you are about fulfilling your mission and values during the normal day-to-day, crisis can throw an organization into a tailspin, and it’s easy for certain characteristics or procedures to be lost in the fray. Though there are many possible reasons disaster can strike, weather-related crises are perhaps the most all-encompassing. In the wake of the destruction of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, many organizations were left reeling as they attempted to keep things running as smoothly and as safely as possible.
For healthcare organizations, this can be extremely difficult, as staff have to be prepared for the worst. The evacuation of patients, if necessary, not only compounds the trauma of their illness and recovery but creates a logistical nightmare of transporting medications and equipment and ensuring each patient continues to get what they need. It is during these times of crises, more than ever, that faith-based organizations in particular are called to rise up and deliver on their mission in the best way they can.
Several acute care organizations took this to heart as southeastern Texas was recently ravaged by Hurricane Harvey, leaving many without power, running water, or even their homes. Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas’ Beaumont Hospital was forced to evacuate their residents, including newborns, out of their facility safely due to the failure of the city’s water pump, but they continued to serve people in the area at the facility tirelessly, fulfilling their mission of performing sacred work by “uniting kindness, quality and healing.” They worked together with military and volunteers to transport patients and employees safely, provide healthcare in temporary clinics and provide necessities like food and water. After the initial flooding, the organization began a fund to help its employees affected by the storm, many of whom lost their homes in the disaster. They also provided a water tank to a pediatric clinic, allowing them to open back up after the storm. Baptist Hospital continued to keep people updated on social media by sharing photos of people helping out as well as sharing tips on how to stay safe in the aftermath, including how to recognize signs of traumatic stress, how to recognize tetanus, and how to safely remove debris and avoid illness.
The staff at Florida Hospital Tampa, hit hard by Hurricane Irma, stayed dedicated to their mission regardless of the disaster they endured, with 1500 people working tirelessly and selflessly to take care of their patients day and night. Though the storm passed through Sunday, Sept. 10, they were back to business as usual by Tuesday, Sept. 12, thanks to their efforts. Beforehand, the hospital filled sandbags, testing generators, stocking tens of thousands of gallons of water and 90,000 gallons of fuel. During the storm, they used social media to keep people up to date on happenings and safety tips and made sure their employees were appreciated for going above and beyond — as well as kept their spirits up — by throwing them an ice cream and pizza party. It’s these meaningful efforts of morale-boosting combined with hard work and preparation that allowed Florida Hospital to continue to give compassionate, quality care to their patients despite the crisis.
Both Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas’ Beaumont Hospital and Florida Hospital Tampa are just two of many FaithSearch clients whom demonstrated their mission of ministry in a tangible way as a result of these recent crises. Regardless of what disasters may occur, whether they are expected and can be prepared for or take an organization by surprise, keeping core values front and center and reminding leadership and staff of your identity is crucial. Compassion, hard work and responsiveness go a long way and can reflect back on the motivation for everything your organization does: serving God.