Today, I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Bridget Duffy speak at the 16th National Summit on Healthcare Marketing Strategies in Orlando. Like me, Dr. Duffy spreads the gospel of the patient experience and works with healthcare organizations committed to enhancing the patient experience.
I always enjoy hearing Dr. Duffy speak, and today’s event was no exception. She said a couple things that really resonated with me. One story that she told was about how one hospital discovered a surprisingly common request that patients make of housekeepers. When the housekeepers interact with the patients and ask if there is anything that they can do for them, many of the patients ask for their prayers. What a wonderful and thought-provoking discovery. There are so many times when we don’t have the ability to cure the physical maladies that present themselves, but each of us has the ability to care and to send positive thoughts, healing energy, and prayers for those in need.
Dr. Duffy also went on to ask several “What if…” questions. One was what if we called code lavenders in hospitals that signaled everyone to stop and send healing intentions and prayers to a specific room or patient? This really resonated with me for several reasons. First, it brought me back to my parochial school upbringing where, as 6-year-old first graders, we learned to bow our heads and say a prayer when we heard an ambulance pass by. The sisters taught us that the people in the ambulance needed our healing thoughts and prayers. I’m far removed from that first-grade classroom, but that is one habit I have carried with me all of my life. Calling a code lavender is much the same. Although I know that some people will scoff or sneer at the concept because they may need more empirical evidence of the healing power of prayer and positive intention, but what if…?
I think a code lavender may do one more thing. It may just connect us all a bit closer to the sense of purpose that drew us to healthcare in the first place. When we pause in the midst of our busy, task-laden days to send positive, healing thoughts to the people we serve, we are connecting to our core values and purpose on a visceral level. In healthcare, we know that we can’t always cure or even comfort, but we can always care enough to send positive intentions. So ask yourself…what if?