Faith-based healthcare organizations are defined by their mission. It’s what makes them different — what makes the experience uniquely valuable for patients. Over time, however, it’s easy to let core values slide or default to business as usual without considering how the organization as a whole could be better pursuing its mission. Particularly as healthcare moves from using a more services-based measure of effectiveness to an impact-based metric, faith-driven leaders are uniquely positioned to make a significant difference in the landscape of the industry. For decades, faith-based providers have typically aspired toward improving the health of the community and providing “whole person care” rather than simply curing ailments, whether or not that was the popular approach. This natural inclination makes them well suited to lead the charge as these principles are quickly being adopted as the “new language” of healthcare.
There are several practical ways faith-driven leaders can make a significant impact on their organizations to help them forge the future of healthcare:
- Assess and reinforce the organizational mission internally. Change has to start from an internal level. If all the staff hasn’t bought in to the shared mission, we can’t expect it to be expressed to the patients, let alone the community. Assess the current mission and values and whether or not they are still relevant and shared across leadership. Once they have been evaluated, communicate them to staff regularly. Encourage staff to come up with new and creative ways to integrate the attributes into everyday practices. Think about how these values could be put into practice from a community benefit standpoint.
- Encourage spiritual care. Some leaders are changing their organizations by encouraging physicians to provide a higher level of spiritual care to patients in addition to physical care. While leadership can tend to shy away from asking physicians to do this, research shows they are more than willing to do so if trained properly. Providing this at a faith-based hospital not only sets apart the organization but brings the patient experience in line with the organization’s values and mission.
- Provide a positive work environment. Faith-driven organizations should have the most desirable work environments, but often, that is not the case. As Christians we are called to do everything with excellence, and that includes not only how we serve patients but how we serve employees as well. Paying attention to potential burnout and emotional health, providing opportunities for staff to serve the community together, and encouraging a healthy work-life balance are just a few ways faith-driven leaders can shape the culture at their organizations.
For a deeper look at the impact real faith-driven leaders are making in the industry around the country, read FaithSearch Partners’ whitepaper “How Faith-Driven Leaders are Changing Today’s Healthcare Landscape” here.