Straight Talk - "Being thankful on this Thanksgiving Day"

November 28, 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Being thankful on this Thanksgiving Day goes hand-in-hand with having a positive attitude.

I was reminded about “positive thinking” by RN Jeanie McCree, Night and Weekend Administrative Coordinator, and one of the most positive people I know. Jeanie suggested I check out the bulletin board on 5-North, a busy Surgical Unit, when I came in at 4 a.m. one Sunday morning to visit with the weekend night downtown team. I found that RN Jacque Bedwell, Charge Nurse, had posted the following instructive commentary from the Christian Working Woman website:

“Does anyone live in a perfect world or have a perfect job? Not many hands would go up to that question. We all have certain negatives in our everyday lives that we have to deal with and those things affect our attitudes. I would suggest that we make a list of the things which happen to us that tend to pull us from positive to negative territory. Once we have the list, look at it and ask ourselves these questions:

  1. What goes with my territory? Some of the negatives on our list simply go with the job, whatever the job may be. Those are the ones we must learn to accept. They are NOT going away, and our only options are to constantly gripe, complain and be negative about them, OR to accept them as those things that go with the territory. We all have them.

  2. If it doesn’t go with the territory, what could I do to try and change it so it’s no longer a negative pull? If you think there is a better way to do things, offer a suggestion in a constructive way. Even if it is not your job, you can probably find a way to make a suggestion that might change that particular negative or eliminate it. It’s worth a try. Most of the complaining talk comes from people who haven’t done a thing to try to solve the problem, but they sure are free with their complaints and criticism. If you don’t have a solution, or haven’t offered your solution, you shouldn’t be griping and complaining about the problem.

  3. Have I lost my perspective on any of these negative pulls? There’s a good chance we’re allowing some very small things to cause us great negative damage. Ask yourself, “What difference will this make in 24 hours?” Remember to think first, don’t overreact or allow minor things to become major.

Wow! I admire the candor of Jacque’s posting; it makes an excellent point. We all have parts of our jobs and our lives that we could do without. And complaining is part of the human condition; we all do it. But spending so much energy on negative thinking isn’t good for anything, most of all your own health. And few people wish to spend their lives around those who incessantly complain. So why not be more positive, as Jackie’s posting suggests? Not only will our workplace benefit, so will you.

As I continued to make rounds around the building later that Sunday, I shared these thoughts with RNs Michelle Bennette, Emily Guerrero, and Ted Green on 4-South, our Oncology Unit, and they passed them on to their colleagues. I was once again reminded in my rounds that we are fortunate that the vast majority of the over 3,800 employees who work here at NCH are, indeed, positive thinkers. They enjoy their work and are passionate about caring for others.

And so in this Thanksgiving season, let me take a moment to salute all of those positive people who do so much for our healthcare system and for our community. They help us all live longer, happier, and healthier lives—and most of the time, they do it with a smile.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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