How did you keep your staff safe and motivated during the pandemic?
With all the daily changes due to COVID-19 and being a member of ANFP, I have access to best practices in health and safety. At Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital (SFSH), we wanted to be a safe hospital and essential to our patients. We did that by antibody testing our patients before they entered the hospital, and by asking a series of COVID-related questions and taking temperatures before entering the building for everyone. We kept our team motivated by ensuring job security and providing cross-training. This allowed us to provide quality care to our patients during the pandemic. I’m on the Entertainment Committee at SFSH, and we put together a Team Appreciation Week, which included a taco bar, ice cream bar, and prime rib dinner. Always show your team you care and appreciate everything they do. A simple thank you can go a long way.
How did you keep yourself motivated during the pandemic?
By staying positive and embracing all the necessary changes for dealing with COVID-1W. At SFSH, we have room service; I was still able to make great food and make a difference in our patients' lives.
What is one challenge you've had to overcome during the pandemic, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was wearing a mask every day and not being able to smile at anyone. The first day after wearing a mask, I cut out a smile and attached it to my mask. The patients and staff would frequently say how much they loved my mask and that it is nice to have a sense of humor during this pandemic. If I delivered a meal to a patient they said, "I love your mask; I wish I had one like that," I would make them a smile mask to brighten their day. It was just a little something to share during this challenging time to hopefully make a difference.
Were there any unique changes you had to make to your everyday procedures that you feel will carry over when all this is over?
The one thing we had to do differently was to add a disinfectant to kill COVID-19. Before, we would only use our sanitizer to wipe down everything in the kitchen. Once COVID-19 hit, we had to disinfect our food contact areas and then sanitize them. Recently we switched to a new product called Sink and Surface that is a disinfectant and sanitizer in one.
What is one lesson learned this past year that will help you be a better leader in the future?
Being resilient and adapting to all the changes in the last year. Always fixing daily problems with a solution will help me be a better leader in the future.
What most impressed you with how your team responded to the challenges resulting from the pandemic?
When the pandemic first started, there were so many changes, but everyone embraced all the changes so we could stay open and make SFSH a safe place to still come to. During the pandemic, the foodservice team stayed busy by cross-training during the first few months. We started asking a series of COVID-related questions and taking temperatures for everyone before they entered the building. Also, we had just started a room service program the previous year, so that was very beneficial during the pandemic.