This whole week I volunteered as part of a team to recognize and then implement ‘waste’ (time, motion, effort) in a community hospital setting. I was “fresh eyes” on the team: meaning I know nothing about the situation, the people, the process, nor the desired outcome, because I don’t work there, nor have I ever done this professional work. Additionally, I volunteered as the photographer of the team/work all week. These photos were used on the final report-out to the hospital administration and other staff members.
Monday we met each other (names, roles within the hospital, length of time working here), and learned what our task is for the week. We began training on processes, responsible stewardship, order, and outcomes. This included jargon, that I kept asking, “What does that mean?” and, “What does that (acronym) stand for?” Everyone was generous with explanations and definitions. Through discussions, experiments, and more discussions, we created some techniques to smooth out some current situations. By Friday, we were hugging each other, snapping selfies, and celebrating our accomplishments.
What I learned: I am so very grateful for my life, my Empty-Nester job, husband, and community. I realize more now what people do in their chosen professional fields – seeing part of it magnified. I respect the people in hospital settings even more than I already did! Not only do they do exceptional work inside the building, but some juggle familes too.
For me, the outcome is joy. I am joyful to have met these nine hard-working people; to have contributed my thoughts and past experiences to this process, for the enlightment of what really goes on behind the scenes, and my role as wife, mom and now ‘housewife.’ It was a backstage tour of some sorts.
For the finale, I slept for twelve straight hours, drank coffee unhurried, and donned my usual uniform of jeans + sneakers. I’m back to my regular, spectacular life. Something I will not take for granted!
Tip: walking a day (or a week) in someone else’s shoes yields great appreciation for your own life and purpose.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”