By Suzanne Hamilton, Head of Continuous Improvement and Development with CLIC

We all have personal values that guide and shape the way we live our lives and guide the decisions and choices we make, but organisations have values too. The more we feel our own personal values fit with those of the organisation we work in, the more passionate we are about our work, and this has an impact on our colleagues and on the experiences of the patients, families and communities we serve. 

Our health system values were developed by staff and are:

  • Kindness - Kindness and compassion costs nothing, yet accomplishes a great deal
  • Collaboration - We are respectful to everyone and are open, honest and fair
  • Ambition - We set goals to achieve the best for our patients, teams, organisation and our partners
  • Respect - We are stronger and better working together with and for our patients

Values are the very basis of compassionate leadership - they are effective in providing us with an ‘internal compass’ shaping how we behave and allowing us to work more independently to make the best decisions. Some people may view values as something ‘soft and fluffy’, but there is growing evidence to show that when values become more that words on a page and guide our day-to-day practice, they drive staff engagement, enhance both staff recruitment and retention, and help establish a culture of quality and safety.

When we allow our behaviours to step outside our values, we can have a significant impact not only on our colleagues but also on our patients. When someone is rude to us we can feel small or angry; these feelings can be imprinted on our emotional memory affecting how we think about ourselves and others and also how we behave. Research has shown that it is likely to reduce our cognitive ability by 61%, and even those who witness a rude exchange are 50% less likely to help others – it is understandable the impact this can have on our culture of safety and the experience of patients in our care!

Watch the video below to find out more about the work of Dr Chris Turner and his campaign ‘Civility Saves Lives’: