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From anger to pride, a transformation in health…
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Peggy De Prins driesluyten 8
Human Resources

From anger to pride, a transformation in health care

Labor sociologist, HR expert and professor at Antwerp Management School Peggy De Prins clearly indicates the change that is taking place in healthcare, in an interview to Zorgnet. How the current crisis has increased the importance of the healthcare sector and how we can transform the initial anger into pride.
Peggy de prins phd
by Peggy De Prins, PhD | July 7, 2020
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Peggy De Prins driesluyten 8

What is your take on Zorgnet-Icuro's policy recommendations?

Zorgnet-Icuro's policy recommendations start from a number of positive lessons from the corona crisis, such as the increased sense of solidarity and spontaneous cooperation between healthcare providers. From there, proposals are formulated that can sustain and consolidate the resulting positive vibe and societal appreciation for the sector. I strongly applaud this appreciative approach.

The crisis has taught us an extraordinary amount about the importance of the healthcare sector in our society. We should be proud that our health care personnel and facility management handled the crisis in such a courageous way. We must seize that feeling today to substantially strengthen our sector.

The crisis has also reiterated the importance of public health, from a human and organizational perspective. I recently spoke to quite a few HR managers whose primary concern was the health of their employees themselves. After all, without healthy employees no optimal staffing, but (even) more work pressure and work stress for the colleagues who remain.

For you, what are the most important levers for healthcare transformation?

Summarized in a few keywords, these are the classics such as ‘more resources, more people’, but also newer ambitions such as: ‘more innovation, more collaboration and more professionalization’. With personnel, we must dare to strive for an and-and story. The story that we have long known from the white anger movement combined with another, newer story, that of white pride. I believe that as a sector we must dare to receive and cash in on the social applause. Building a strong and positive image starts by appreciating what does go well and what we can be proud of. Many of the healthcare institutions I know are value-driven organizations par excellence, not profit machines. A job in healthcare is also meaningful and meaningful, life-saving even, as it turned out during this crisis. Very different from what we sometimes refer to as bullshit jobs: jobs that may pay well, but are perceived as meaningless and as useless. If we package that message correctly, we can use it to appeal not only to our young people, but also to second-career seekers.

"As a sector, we must dare to receive and cash in on the social applause. Building a strong and positive image starts by appreciating what does go well."

I am convinced that in a mindset of white pride, we should also be able to find more room to invest in social innovation. Consider, for example, the plea for small scale in residential care centers. In such a small-scale team, a caregiver is not busy checking off an anonymous to-do list, but providing warm and personalized care. In addition, I see a lot of potential in collaboration between facilities within networks in areas such as personnel management. Care professionals, just like during the crisis period, spontaneously assisting each other beyond the boundaries of their own care facility. There is a lot of future in this. Internal mobility within the institution, but also more widely within a network, could in this way become much more the rule than the exception.

Furthermore, I also see further professionalization of management as an important, complementary lever. The sector needs competent directors and middle managers who can close the gap between efficiency and humanity in a smart and sustainable way. I consider the systematic sharing and building of knowledge about this an important and permanent to do.

What is your main message to the government?

Evolve from a cost-cutting discourse to an investment discourse for healthcare personnel, with the dual goal of strengthening the ability to act and the workability in the sector. Both go together; they are communicating vessels. Wages in the sector must become externally competitive and internally equitable. The workload must be systematically reduced. This certainly requires more hands, but not only that.

More dialogue and a strong climate of trust are equally essential. We urgently need to get rid of the idea that workload can only be influenced quantitatively. I recently read about a beautiful initiative where existing clothing of residents in a residential care center were creatively adapted. As a result, residents could get changed more easily while maintaining their personal style. This freed up more time for the caregivers to have a chat. Promoting and supporting micro-initiatives like that can help solve work pressure structurally.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle to putting your proposal into practice?

A permanent and structural tightness in the labor market. We must be able to definitively win over the labor potential that is present on the labor market today. Not only by building a strong image and a solid employer brand, but also by permanently focusing on a warm and sustainable work climate. After all, we not only have to attract people with affinity, but also keep them in healthcare. A personal approach is important here. It is striking that not only those seeking care, but also the care providers today appreciate more and more customization. A personalized job and work environment where one's own unique individual strengths and needs are taken into account.

Source article: https://zorgwijzermagazine.be/zorgorganisatie/van-witte-woede-naar-witte-trots/

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