Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV.
This week, three events occurred that made me think about honesty and integrity. A word of caution, this isn’t going to be a story of crime and punishment. The three events were the second session in our Leadership Lunch and Learn series on the topic of professionalism, our new employee orientation, and Dr. Seuss’s 110th birthday, which would have been on March 2nd. How could these events possibly be related you ask? Well, read on!
In the second session of our Leadership Lunch and Learn series, our topic was professionalism. Those who participated agreed that one of the key tenets of any professional (and I consider everyone in our workplace to be a professional) is honesty and integrity. One of our participants Gerald, who is an LPN, put it this way “it’s about doing the right thing, even when no one is watching”. Bravo! I believe that we all must have consistent regard for the highest standards in our work—even if no one is watching. Our work should never be considered “good enough”, but rather, we should always strive for excellence. This involves meeting our commitments, dedication to our work, and giving 110% at all times. Lack of honesty and integrity in our work can unravel a team and an organization faster than any other action—and our Leadership Lunch and Learn session participants challenged themselves to think about these tenets of professionalism in their work.
Next, I had the opportunity to speak again to our new employees at orientation today. This is one of my favorite parts of the month, because I am charged with welcoming our new employees, and talking to them about our mission, our organizational values, our vision, and our strategic plan. I am passionate about all of these, and hope to instill that passion in our new employees. How does this relate to honesty and integrity? When I talk to our new employees, I talk to them about how important each of them is to our meeting our mission every day, and ask them to use our values in everything that they do, in very decision they make—and if they live our values of quality of care, creation of a patient centered environment, ethical treatment for all, and investment in our people in an honest way, we can’t help but meet our mission.
Now, here is the tricky part. How could Dr. Seuss’s 110th birthday possibly relate to all of this? I’ve been an avid Dr. Seuss fan all my life. I remember my parents reading Dr. Seuss to me as a child, and I read Dr. Seuss to my children seemingly thousands of times. As an adult, I came to realize the wisdom of some of the seemingly nonsensical writing of Dr. Seuss. He actually teaches some pretty good life lessons. My favorite quote from Dr. Seuss is “Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered!“. We all want to be remembered as people who are honest, who live our lives with integrity, who have consistent regard for the highest standards, and for doing the right thing. How could we do any better than that?