I walked in to Winona Health last week to peppy music and a team of hospital leaders dancing. A person is always greeted by smiling faces when she walks through the doors at Winona Health, but this time, it was clearly a special occasion. Winona Health President/CEO Rachelle Schultz took my arm, we both pulled off a minor dance move, and I was shown to the party.
This celebration was in recognition of a prestigious award given to Winona Health by the Performance Excellence Network (PEN) called the 2013 Performance Excellence Award. It is a serious accomplishment, only bestowed upon a handful of organizations after rigorous evaluation by independent examiners. The award recognizes leadership, strategic planning, customer-focused processes, measurement systems, workforce engagement, and operations — qualities that are not just checkmarks on a simple judge’s form. This award is given to organizations, such as hospitals, schools, and manufacturers, that are actively working to systematically improve outcomes and reach goals, with serious, detailed plans in place and proven results. The award has only been granted to nine organizations in the last 27 years.
It was cause for a serious party.
A big crowd was gathered, including many of the Winona Health staff members who have taken care of me over the years. As I looked around at all the smiling faces, I could not help but remember all the times I had walked through those sliding doors for one reason or another, limping, in a wheelchair, or whisked through the ER, and been met with such wonderful, caring people. I couldn’t help but think how lucky we all are.
I worked in health care as a nursing assistant for almost a decade, and while I was in college I worked for what we call the “pool.” It’s basically used when a health care organization is short-staffed, and they can call in an experienced replacement to come in and make sure that things go smoothly for the shift. While with the pool, I worked for many, many health care organizations. I saw the good, the bad, and the really bad, and it gave me a real appreciation for well-run hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities. It’s not easy to be the best, but Winona Health sometimes makes it look like it is.
Winona Health has saved me more than once (I decided not to get into the scary stories today). It has also improved my life, and every single week seems to have a new class, a new speaker or free event, that can help us all. On June 5, it will host a free health talk on sleep apnea, something that caught my eye because an old friend of mine just lost his wife to undiagnosed sleep apnea. On June 1, the Healthy Kids Club has all kinds of fun for the whole family at Lake Park (beginning near Lake Winona Manor at 1 p.m.). If you like photography (I do!) the HealingScapes photo competition is just for you. (Details are on page 4aa of this edition.)
We are so lucky to have so many wonderful people at Winona Health who not only care for us in our darkest hours, but lift us up to new heights and help us be the best we can be.
Thank you, Winona Health, for saving lives, for changing lives, and for making the Winona region a better place to call home.