Now is the Time: Why Asking Staff “What Matters?” Should be an Always Event

Health care is a highly regulated industry where there is no margin for error. The voices and experiences from those that are charged with delivering safe, reliable, person-centered care must be elevated to foster learning, deliver improved outcomes, and to blunt a mass exodus of health care personnel.

Health care professionals are familiar with “never events” and fearful of their repercussions. Yet it is rare that “always events” are ever mentioned, defined, or incentivized the same way that never events are penalized. As observed by faculty for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s National Nursing Home Action Network, COVID has laid bare the need to continuously support and elevate the voices of caregivers if we want patient outcomes and value to improve in the system. 

Employee responses when asked how their organization could better support them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asking staff and patients “What Matters to You?” and action-oriented questions using motivational interviewing provides not only a way to collect real-time feedback to drive change, but gives leaders an opportunity to allocate resources and direct change that is in line with what their teams desire, what brings them joy, and satisfaction. In a time when costly burnout and turnover are dramatically increasing in health care, the time is right to use the What Matters framework and co-design to refine antiquated systems to reinforce what matters most to health care workers and patients-- patient care, outcomes, and their team.

Asking what matters is simple and can be done on paper, digitally, and/or in person.  Below are some questions that goShadow has tested and developed to iteratively ask and measure staff sentiment and to reinforce shared purpose in their daily work.  


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Posted on

March 4, 2021