(COVID-19) Relax and Recover….or Pivot?
Use this pandemic as a platform for sustaining a positive change in your program. Take inventory of the essential changes you made during the pandemic and see if it makes sense to keep them in the “next normal.”
Truly, the pandemic is changing how we live our lives.
It’s also changing and how we do our work. We are caring for stroke patients arriving in the ED differently, we are working as a team differently and we are collaborating with others differently. It’s an intense time for everyone – on multiple levels!
Will there eventually be time to relax and recover? The kind of time that comes naturally after the intense build up to a successful certification review. Probably not. It’s hard to imagine how, or even if, we might return to our old normal. As we continue this journey through today’s normal, our thoughts begin to move on to what might be the “next” normal – somewhere beyond the current state.
Will this pandemic ultimately change how we manage our stroke programs?
The pandemic has triggered fast thinking and fast action! It’s required us to be much more agile and to innovate and implement quickly. But will this last? How might we approach our work differently? Will we continue to embrace creativity and innovation to the same degree as we have during the pandemic?
This pandemic has shown we can problem-solve and ensure best practices in a relatively short amount of time. Still grounded in science and rationality, there is no question that stroke teams have embraced the challenge of this pandemic and swiftly developed and delivered new protocols and improved processes.
Can we continue to bring improvements in care to patients?
Can we continue to bring improvements in care to patients in even half the time it took us before the pandemic? Surely we can use some of the creativity and innovative methods we’ve incorporated during the pandemic to speed up our process in the future.
We’ve heard the term “upskilling” and “reskilling” to describe new ways of working during the pandemic. This may describe reskilling others to assist in the initial assessment of stroke to reduce patient and staff contact. It may also refer to additional competencies, or upskilling, required to accomplish an increasing demand for remote neurological assessments to both reduce patient and staff contact and to provide timely assessments. In both, creative ways to achieve and quickly deploy these new competencies were used.
Some thoughts going forward….
- Begin to talk to your team about your collective experience during this pandemic and what can be carried forward
- How you made decisions
- What aspects of rapid decision-making worked well?
- How was information gathered and are any aspects sustainable?
- Was the decision-making delegated that allowed for favorable and rapid execution?
- How you worked
- How did internal communication change and what worked well?
- How did collaboration and productivity change among your team and others and why?
- What new ways of working have best served the patient, the team, and the program?
- How you engaged with patients and families
- What new needs did patients and families have?
- What changes in patient and family interaction improved their experience?
- Was virtual interaction achievable and if so, was it received favorably?
- How you made decisions
Prepare for the rebound. Avoid the natural tendency, like after a certification review, to relax and recover in the days and weeks to come. Instead, pivot and use this pandemic as a platform for sustaining a positive change in your program. Take inventory of the essential changes you made during the pandemic and see what makes sense to keep in the “next normal.”