Employees at Penn Medicine are the key to making sure that every experience for patients and families – and colleagues – is exceptional. And their efforts don’t go unnoticed. Each year, Penn Medicine Experience Week (PMX Week), held during the month of October, recognizes and celebrates the work that employees do every day. “We want our employees to know how valued they are,” said Craig Loundas, PhD, AVP of Penn Medicine Experience. “A world-class health system like Penn Medicine only exists because of the exemplary faculty and staff who drive its success.”
Planning for PMX Week starts early in the year, with a team of over 50 leaders from all entities. Typically, the PMX Week planning team reviews the previous year’s activities and outcomes to determine what worked and what could be improved. But, in 2020, the planning committee had a much harder task. Like many best laid plans this year, “COVID-19 threw a curveball into the mix,” said Stephanie Kindt, Esq., senior organizational development consultant of Penn Medicine Experience.
But, if Penn Medicine can redesign workflows, have staff volunteer to learn new roles, set up testing centers, relocate entire units, and stand up a regional telemedicine platform all in the span of a few weeks, then the PMX Week planning team could come up with an exciting plan that would get employees excited and energized. PMX Week 2020 will run Monday, October 19 through Friday, October 23.
Celebrating the Culture
Back in 2014, CPUP launched the first PMX Week celebration, which has since expanded to every entity. PMX Week is a celebration of the culture of Penn Medicine, how employees show up every day to provide an exceptional experience for patients and families. It is also a celebration of the Penn Medicine Experience Standards, created by the Penn Medicine Experience Leadership Team (PELT), a system wide, multidisciplinary group, which focuses on creating and sustaining service excellence. PELT helped articulate the way employees connect with colleagues, patients and families. During PMX Week and throughout the year, the Experience Standards and examples of employees demonstrating the standards are featured on posters, emails, websites — and even elevators. The Penn Medicine Experience Standards are: Compassionate, Present, Empowered, Collaborative and Accountable. They were launched system wide during PMX Week 2018.
PMX week and the PMX standards help ensure staff across the organization every day perform their work in consistent ways that also map to the system's longstanding Blueprint for Quality and Safety. “This is not just a fleeting message; it is a promise that we hold true and make good on every day,” Loundas said. “Our employees are dedicated to delivering a consistently excellent patient experience throughout the Health System, whether at PPMC or Penn Medicine Cherry Hill.”
Last year, a five-year campaign was launched to highlight one Experience Standard per year, starting with Compassionate. “Present” takes center stage this year — celebrating how employees show up and remain engaged for patients, families, colleagues and the community. Even as COVID-19 is keeping people apart, the act of being Present takes on a heightened importance under the circumstances.
“Taking just a few moments to listen and allow a patient to share in the moment can make all the difference in outcomes and create a better experience for both the patient and the provider,” said Mandeep Dagli, MD, of Interventional Radiology and co-chair of the Service Domain Committee within CPUP.
Sharing Patient Stories
Sharing stories has always been the hallmark of PMX Week and it is proving to be even more important during these unprecedented times. “When our employees are willing to share their stories, it goes a long way to help, heal, connect and inspire us,” said Kindt. “Depending on the story, people can see themselves in a particular narrative or situation.”
One story highlighted in this year’s campaign centers around Dee Knight, BSN, an infusion therapy nurse, and Elizabeth Wang-Hsu, PhD, a physical therapist, both from Penn Medicine at Home, who bonded over the intensity that surrounds COVID-related visits. Their tenacity and teamwork in the moments before a patient visit paints a vivid picture of our new reality. Working out of the trunk of Knight’s car, Wang Hsu helped her don and doff the layers of personal protective equipment (i.e., gloves, masks, booties, and gown), all while in full PPE herself.
This year’s PMX Week also coincides with the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The Present campaign will culminate with a story highlighting chemotherapy nurse Claire Maggio, BSN, OCN, of the Abramson Cancer Center, who will retire in December after 38 years with Penn Medicine. Maggio insisted that her accomplishments and accolades are merely a reflection of her colleagues and patients. “My mother inspired me to become a nurse and working at Penn Medicine has fulfilled me in ways that goes beyond words and expectations,” Maggio said.
Virtual Fun and Camaraderie
While employee stories are the centerpiece for 2020 PMX Week, the virtual activities and events will drive the camaraderie and spirit, fostering a sense of being together — while sometimes remaining apart. For example, employees can test their Penn Medicine knowledge by participating in the PMX Week Scavenger Hunt. Completely online, this friendly competition between entities puts employees to the test with how much they know about the history, locations and people of Penn Medicine. The Penn Medicine entity with the most correct responses wins. Winners will be announced during PMX Week. Penn Medicine Prize Packs will be sent to five randomly selected participants from the winning entity who complete the hunt. Other planned virtual activities will include how being mindful helps us to remain present, and tips on how to do self-care.
PMX Week is also a great time to send colleagues a “Penn High Five” to recognize their efforts in advancing the Penn Medicine Experience. It not only shares positive feedback with coworkers but also boosts morale. During PMX week, memes demonstrating the act of being present will be collected from across the system. The winning memes will be added to the Penn High Five platform. To send a colleague a High Five meme, simply go to pennhighfive.com and use the site’s search function to find the recipient. Then choose from a multimedia library of memes and gifs to accompany your feel-good message.
Like many best laid plans this year, COVID may have thrown a curveball into many things, but Penn Medicine employees will be celebrated and applauded for their remarkable contributions to the patients, family, community and organization. As all other PMX Week celebrations before, 2020 PMX Week will provide many unique and engaging opportunities for employees to have fun.
Visit pennmedicine.org/PMX to view the calendar of virtual events, stories, activities and multimedia experiences and to share your story.