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Leadership Lesson: Lessons from 2020 and Looking Toward the New Year for Success

January 4, 2021

This month’s leadership lesson is from Jeana Partington, MS, BSN, RN, CPHQ, CPPS, Program Director at Alliant Quality, the quality improvement group of Alliant Health Solutions, the QIN-QIO for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

For many of us, 2020 was a year like none other. We lost many of our favorite celebrities, actors, and athletes, as well as family, friends and colleagues; we saw injustices leading to several protests; and the wildfires, hurricanes, and floodings all had us trying to deal with one crisis after another. And then there was the COVID-19 pandemic — the biggest disruption, upheaval, and disturbance of the year.

In this leadership lesson article, I want to take the time to recognize all of you for making every effort to rise to and meet the challenges brought by COVID-19. You did it for your patients, residents, staff, family, friends, neighbors, and loved ones. We heard heroic stories about your efforts to acquire testing kits, PPE, and attempts to locate staff to cover for absences related to employee quarantine and sickness, and the many extra hours that were worked every day to provide care in your facilities. We heard about how you came up with solutions so families and caregivers could either make virtual contact with their loved ones or visit safely while receiving care, and how nursing home staff used their creativity to come up with ways to make sure their residents’ physical and mental health needs were being addressed through fun and engaging activities as you maintained the pandemic requirements for social distancing. These are just a few examples of the many ways you made a difference to so many people.

While quite a few of us are saying, “goodbye and good riddance” to 2020, there were also many good things that happened last year:

  • Healthcare workers were finally recognized as the heroes they have always been!
  • The COVID-19 vaccine was approved by the FDA and initial distribution and administration to patients, residents, and healthcare workers began.
  • More people adopted pets from shelters.
  • Less traveling resulted in less air pollution.
  • Drive-in theaters are experiencing a renaissance.
  • Many people got to see Broadway shows from the comfort of their homes and saved money on exorbitant ticket prices!
  • Our families grew with the birth of newborns and marriages of people in love.
  • People still graduated from high school and college.
  • And many more!

Good things — big and small — happen to us every day. We often don’t take the time to acknowledge them as a result of our hurried and full lives. Consider reflecting at the end of every day, “what three good things happened today?” and writing them down. Reflect on your Three Good Things List at the end of the week and review all the positive things that happened in your life — big and small. Encourage your family, friends, loved ones, and colleagues to do the same. You can even plan a Three Good Things debrief with a group at the end of the week so people can voluntarily share their list with each other.  Leave in action to focus on these positive reflections and commit to the mindset that “this too shall pass” when the negative invades our lives.

Wishing you a safe, happy, and healthy 2021!

Learn more about the Three Good Things intervention:

https://www.myamericannurse.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/ant12-3-good-things-1207.pdf

https://today.duke.edu/2016/02/resilience

https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/3/e022695

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28611090/