Take the Pickle Pledge

Ashly Carroll, RN

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?

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6 Responses to Take the Pickle Pledge

  1. Sue Schwartz says:

    I definitely don’t blame or complain…maybe occasionally gossip….;)Seriously though, what a great idea from the Surgical unit!!!

  2. Sandra Baron says:

    Wow what a great idea! I would sign that pledge! A more positive work environment is always a more productive work environment. Way to go Surgical Unit!!!

  3. mary Ganger says:

    I have had the Pickle Pledge hanging in my offfice for a while. I put it up there so that everyone who came into my office could see it first thing (and get the hint 🙂 I think I will put in front of my computer instead, because everytime I see it, it makes me smile and there is a lot to be said for that! Being negative takes just as much energy as being positive BUT when your positive, not only do you feel better you are making those around you feel better as well. In the challenging environment that we work in it is so very easy to find things to be negative about. I really appreciate those who channel their creativity into finding ways to be positive themselves and encourage others to be as well. Congratulations Ashly!

  4. Sara Short says:

    Kudos to Ashely and to the whole Surgical Unit team for taking the pledge and having fun with it! It’s so exciting to see this level of enthusiasm!

  5. Nancy Susco says:

    I am so proud of this group of 13 staff nurses and nursing technicians. They were motivated after reading the book The Florence Prescription and were inspired to employ others in making a change in their work environment. Ashly’s presentation at staff meetings today got the ball rolling with other staff members who are looking forward to reading the book and begin to make changes in our work environment. Those changes will impact our patients, their families, our physicians and ourselves. It is a wonderful beginning to creating an environment of “What would Florence do?. Great job to everyone who participated in the start of this process. Ashly, your presentations were excellent and you have inspired your peers.

    Nancy Susco

  6. Alisa Rooney says:

    As one of those “older” nurses, I am always enthusiastic about my work and my patients. But Ashly’s enthusiasm and renewed sense of excitement about her job after reading “The Florence Prescription” has been contagious. I would like to congratulate Ashly for taking on the task of bringing this excitement and can do attitude to the rest of the unit. Because of her hard work on this project and her great attitude at work, she is a shining example to all of us about the reasons we entered the field of nursing to begin with-way to go Ashly!!

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