Recognizing Employees during COVID-19

By The SHSMD Team posted 03-31-2020 11:40 AM


During this health care crisis, hospitals and health systems are looking for ways to thank their staff for rising to the challenge. In a discussion on MySHSMD, several hospitals and health systems described how they are recognizing their staff.

Signage and Notes

T. J. Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow, Kentucky, “has created signs with words of encouragement to hang at employee entrances, in breakrooms, etc. We are delivering these to each of our locations along with a thank you note…Also, our CEO is sending out a daily email update to all employees and he is very genuine each day in thanking them for caring for our patients and for being Superheroes,” reported Stacey Biggs, executive vice president of marketing, planning and development.

A Rest and Relaxation Center

Ashley Trudo, marketing and public relations director at Cody Regional Health, shared that they’ve converted part of their hospital to a resource for staff and encourage them to take a break there. 

“There are snacks, drinks, couches, meditation room, aromatherapy, 8 bedrooms with private bathrooms, laundry facilities, shower facilities, toiletries, onsite access to licensed therapists for emotional support, puzzles and games, an exercise area and 24 hour staff to guide you to whatever you need.  The CMC personnel did a wonderful job transitioning their focus to help our employees and we encourage each of you to check out this new space and take care of yourselves." A video shows some of the features.

A Webpage of Community Thanks  

In Midland, Texas, Midland Memorial Hospital created a “Thank a Hero” webpage on their site where community members can send messages of thanks.

Thank You Messages and More

Amanda Self, senior business development specialist at Ochsner Health in Metairie, Louisiana, shared several ideas.

“We created a page for community and staff to leave notes for our Doctor's Day campaign. We are also using thank you graphics for on our social media pages. Some other fun ideas we've implemented across our system are:

  • Pop-up grocery essentials for sale in our cafeterias - bread, milk, eggs, orange juice.
  • Sidewalk chalked encouragement messages at employee entrances.
  • Thank you wall decals in common areas like cafeterias and smaller versions in break rooms/nurses stations.
  • Water and snacks in breakrooms.
  • Pocket hand sanitizers.
  • Compression socks.
  • Relaxation areas with calming music, low lighting, etc.
  • T-shirts.
  • Yard signs that say, "Heroes work here.” 

Ochsner posted photos on their website’s Community page.  

Thank You Videos

The New York Hospital Association thanked health care workers with a Tweeted video featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jimmy Fallon and other showbiz stars thanking health care workers for their dedication.

Kristin Limes, manager of marketing and insights at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center created a video based on a letter they received from a patient's family. The family thanks the hospital staff for their kindness and expertise and wishes them well.

Stephanie M. Derzypolski, vice president/chief communications officer at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, shared two videos, one primarily an internal message and another meant as a public thank you.

Gila Medical Center used LinkedIn to share a video that they created.

Google launched a video thanking health care workers and urging members of the public to self-isolate as a way of helping. At Michigan Medicine, public safety agencies sent representatives to drive past the medical facilities to send their support and solidarity. Michigan Medicine recorded this parade on video. The AHA also created a video to celebrate health care workers' heroism.

Nominate Staff for Awards

Health care leaders are in a unique position to recognize leadership and heroism. For staff who truly exemplify leadership, consider nominating them for recognition, either internally or externally. Consider nominating young leaders who show a record of promise to SHSMD’s Rising Stars Awards and senior leaders with the SHSMD equivalent of a lifetime achievement award, the Leadership Excellence Award.

Celebrating Nurses' Week

Josephine McMullen, marketing coordinator at AnMed Health said that they are repeating a successful tactic from last year by making a series of five videos that the hospital will post to social media. "Each video will be about 30-45 seconds long and it will feature a nurse from a different area of the hospital talking about why he/she became a nurse and what they love about nursing. I'm not talking about highly produced videos here. They'll have a rougher, Facebook Live feel. We did this last year and had literally thousands of views and a couple of thousand interactions. They were a huge success."

Darin Schumacher, marketing manager of Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists in Green Bay, Wisconsin, said that they are using the same approach of a video message without a highly produced look and feel. They consider that style more appropriate for the current time. 

Additional Ideas

This list of 99 ways to express appreciation to employees includes the basics such as written notes and company swag as well as less common forms of thanks such as subscriptions to Spotify, Hulu or Amazon Prime and individualized custom coffee mugs with each employee’s favorite quotation.

The American Medical Association has a list of ways to thank caregivers, including:

  • Workload redistribution
  • Ensuring that staff do not lose vacation time or out-of-pocket expenses
  • Meals
  • Child care and pet care
In March 2020 the JAMA Network published Supporting the Health Care Workforce During the COVID-19 Global Epidemic, which includes advice on reducing anxiety among workers and promoting self-care. 

The American Hospital Association's Protect the Heroes campaign, a collaboration among the AHA, the Association for Health Care Philanthropy and the Creative Coalition, helps to fund personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies for local hospitals. Donors can give directly to their local hospital. 

Please join the discussion on MySHSMD to learn more about how hospitals and health systems are responding to COVID-19, including ways that they support their staff, and share your ideas.