Now I have attended a lot of staff meetings throughout my career, but I have never walked into one that was taking the “Pickle Pledge.” I was immediately confused as the Surgical Unit staff meeting was talking about pickles while surrounded by a smorgasbord of holiday food. But these nurses and nurse techs were intently listening to one of their co-workers, Ashly Carroll, RN, leading them in a discussion about the “Pickle Pledge,” which was created by Joe Tye in his book, The Florence Prescription. The book is about the philosophy of Florence Nightingale’s approach to caring for others. More specifically it focuses on making changes in your work environment to exude a service mindset in your daily actions.
The Surgical Unit decided to start with 13 employees and create a book club around this book. So let me get back to the Pickle Pledge, which is “so-called because chronic complainers look like they were born with a dill pickle stuck in their mouths.” The Pickle Pledge says “I will turn every complaint into either a blessing or a constructive suggestion. By taking the Pickle Pledge, I am promising myself that I will no longer waste my time and energy on blaming, complaining, and gossiping, nor will I commiserate with those who steal my energy with their blaming, complaining and gossiping.” The daily pledge goes on to focus on a different characteristic each day of the week including: responsibility, accountability, determination, contribution, resilience, and perspective. The early results of the Surgical Unit’s study and focus on improving the patient experience are very promising. Initial Gallup patient satisfaction scores for their unit for October, November and December show top quartile (better than 75% of peer group) performance in the country on the question related to “communication with nurses.” They are also scoring above the 50th percentile in overall rating and pain management. This is encouraging news inspired by a staff who wanted to make their unit’s culture one that consistently pushes for excellence in customer service.
I am proud of their commitment to driving this cultural value which ties to our core values of Integrity, Compassion, Advocacy, Resourcefulness and Excellence and to our mission statement – “A Passion for excellence. Compassion for you.” Congratulations to the Surgical Unit team! Have you seen this kind of philosophy make a difference in your area?