One of the responsibilities of my PULSE assignment at Bethell Hospice is to send out a weekly article to all employees and volunteers at the Hospice, educating them on the accreditation program that I am working on.
In one of my messages I wrote about culture and asked the question “Who sets culture within an organization”. It was meant as a reflective question but one of the volunteers at Bethell took the time to respond to me. Below, with his permission, is the message he sent me. Be forewarned, this one might cause a few tears. Thank you to Michael Corrigan for allowing me to share this with my blog audience.
I really don’t have an answer to, “Who sets culture within an organization?” I suppose that a Board of Directors and senior management can try to instil it.
However, I do know the answer to “Who maintains culture within an organization?” It is largely (but not exclusively) set by the staff and volunteers gently walking the floor, not because it is their job, but because their heart leads them to comfort those in need. I will give you an example that will stay with me for life.
A resident was in her last moments of life, and she had no friends or family present. As a resident support volunteer, I was asked to sit with her. As I approached the room I noticed a member of the nursing team entering the room to be with the resident. As I followed her into the room, we both saw a member of the housekeeping staff sitting by the bed of the woman who was dying. After a very special moment shared, the two women left to attend to their duties as I sat silently holding the resident’s hand.
Here is why I love Bethell Hospice: we were lined up three-deep to ensure that a woman would not die alone. There are a zillion beautiful “Bethell Stories”. I need no more than this one story to “keep me coming back for more”.
Your loyal and faithful servant – Michael Corrigan