Change Day 2017 Stories

Sonya Chandler Challenges Island Health to Get Real!

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Sonya Chandler Challenges Island Health to Get Real!

Contributed by Sonya Chandler, Island Health. Sonya shares her biggest pledge that she hopes 100 of her Island Health team members will join!

What is your role with Island Health?

I was asked to take on a lead role as a Change Ambassador with Island Health and support other Change Ambassadors in their roles. I am a consultant under the Quality and Safety Improvement portfolio. I specifically work to improve engagement and innovation.

Tell us about your pledge!

I’ve actually made a few pledges so far (one of which was to make a weekly video!). My first pledge was to walk 70,000 steps a week, which was going to be pretty easy for me to meet since I already have a personal goal to walk 10,000 steps a day. So after I made that first one, I wanted to make a pledge that was a little bit more meaningful or connected to things I find really important in my work. At first I wasn’t feeling super jazzed by it and actually was feeling frustrated by yet another thing I had to add onto my plate at work. Instead of pushing those feelings away, I leaned into them and made my second pledge: to stay positive and to stay connected at work. A week of following through on that pledge led me to my next pledge, which was to really explore some of those big questions I had coming up, like: What is the work I want to be doing? And what do I have control over to change? These questions are what led me to draft the #IslandHealthGetsReal Challenge!

Tell us about your #IslandHealthGetsReal Challenge!

It originally grew out of wanting to reengage and recommit to my work. I wasn’t sure at first how I was going to do this, but I did notice that when I talked to people about the questions I was experiencing around work, I had this response from people that was overwhelmingly a sense of relief and a sense of feeling like someone was telling it like it was. I felt like it was opening the doors to conversations that were meaningful to people. So my challenge or my pledge was to have other people join me in this authentic showing up or this authentic way of being in the workplace. The #IslandHealthGetsReal pledge was born and I hoped at least hoped 100 people would join me.

There are already 30 people signed up!

I know! It is so exciting to see the energy spread.

And you’re giving out lanyards to people who join?

Yes! Everyone who joins my pledge will get a lanyard. Part of the idea behind the lanyard is to help build a Change Ambassador Network. Within the quality team that I work on, we have felt for a long time that we would like a more formalized network of the people out there that identify with some of those core concepts of quality. So to try and create this visible network and connection of folks across the island, we decided that the lanyards would be a fun means to an end. We would be able to identify each other out in the organization and perhaps depending on how all this goes, it can be a foundation to a more formalized network within Island Health of folks who identify as change agents and rebels in their own right.

I love that! Great idea! Have you noticed any positive changes in your day-to-day work so far?

Yes! The conversations have changed. I have a feeling each of the conversations that people have around joining this pledge changes the way their day or their week unfolds. It’s not the kind of quality improvement project where I will have hard data to show a change, but it is improving people’s experience and creating space for folks in a new way that has been well received.

I feel like your pledge speaks to capacity-building and resiliency.

That is definitely part of what I am trying to do here. I am a nurse and I think what you see a lot with people working in the public sector is being asked to do more with less. People often run out of steam and they can’t figure how to do the work they want to do within these constraints. They may put their hands up and say, “I’m just going show up and do my job and get my paycheque.” This apathy degrades morale and ultimately quality. With my pledge, I’m inviting people to not give up. To do even the smallest things to keep yourself connected in a way that feels positive and meaningful for you.

Finding ways to connect to the work you are doing has a double-edged impact on the system in that not only are you maybe doing your work with more purpose and meaning but you yourself are healthier.

What is your long-term hope for this pledge?

An engaged and empowered network of change agents, rebels, and champions for quality in health care, connected and interacting at Island Health. Currently, there are so many of us out there working in our silos, in our own ways, with different work plans and varied language, but we are all doing essentially the same thing: contributing to this health system in an effort to provide quality care to people. My hope is that this challenge reminds us all of what’s important to us, and grounds us in our human experience – after all, this is what connects us and our work! Now that is an improvement!