Dear Bozeman Health Community,
You see it everywhere now, but the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On”
was how British households were encouraged to cope with the deprivations
of World War II. First developed in 1939, it was intended to strengthen
public morale in the event of an attack or other wartime disasters. The
saying has come to symbolize a certain British stoicism – traits
such as “stiff upper lip,” perseverance, and remaining calm
in the face of adversity. In other words, resilience.
Resilience in the workplace is just as important today as it was in the
streets of 1930s England. In modern parlance, resilience refers to our
ability to adjust to change and bounce back from challenges and stress.
It is a critical trait for people in our line of work. Those of us on
the frontline of healthcare face highly emotional human encounters on
a weekly or even daily basis. Health care is rapidly changing, the community
expectation of health delivery and value is transitioning, and Bozeman
Health is evolving in unique and important ways. We have the privilege
and honor to adapt and transform Bozeman Health to meet the growing health
needs of the communities we serve. And yet we know, change is complex
and stressful, often challenging our resolve and commitment to ‘Carry
The World Health Organization has identified stress as the most significant
health threat of the 21st century. We see its effects here at Bozeman Health. For the past 3 years,
change fatigue or 'burn out' has been a major factor in the organization.
We know that some of our people are feeling uncertain about the past and
the future of the organization and perhaps even about their own ability
live up to the expectations inherent in our Culture of Excellence.
First, I invite you to please take a brief moment to reflect and connect
with your breath. We know that it is going to be OK. You are going to
be OK. You are here because we need you, our patients need you, and the
community needs you. Everyone working with Bozeman Health brings value,
regardless of your role. Leaders and experts are equally valued and needed
to successfully navigate change.
Second, be kind to yourself. Resist the quest for perfection. Don’t
try to control that which is uncontrollable. Focus on the small changes
that can make a big difference in yours or someone else’s day. Third,
consider ways you could become more resilient in the face of change. Because
in this day and age, change is the only constant.
Studies around resilience have identified some key traits in those best
able to navigate change:
Strong social networks: High-quality relationships are critical to resilience. People with strong
connections at work are more resistant to stress and they are happier
in their roles.
Self-care and recovery: Being kind to ourselves is key to resilience. Take time to re-fill the
tank. Get enough sleep, take time for some exercise, and treat yourself
well. A little self-forgiveness goes a long way.
Mindfulness: We all have bad days and crises, and we each have a choice in how we respond.
We can choose to panic or we can remain calm and think things through
logically. Practice positive thinking. Hold pragmatic space in your mind.
Be authentic. Listen to how you speak to yourself when you encounter a
change or challenge. Would you speak to a friend or loved one the same way?
Control what you can: Put your efforts in the areas where you can have the most impact. People
who spend time worrying about uncontrollable events often feel lost, helpless
and powerless. Resilient people don’t think of themselves as victims
– they focus on changing the things they have control over.
Bozeman Health recently delivered resiliency training to the organization’s
leaders, and we will roll the training out to all levels of the organization
in the coming months and years. In the meantime, I ask each one of you
to consider how we can maintain civility, wonderment, and curiosity during
times of change and stress. We want people to be OK with who they are,
to be more open and inquisitive, to experience authentic engagement.
Maintaining enduring joy, gratitude and an attitude of service does not
necessarily require a grand gesture or permanent life change. Small, simple
changes can have a big effect. Being compassionate with ourselves and
each other, taking a moment to recover from a stressful interaction, or
being aware of our own patterns of thinking can make a big difference.
It’s by cultivating these traits that we will truly achieve a Culture
My very best -