“I want you to know that I do so much more than push a broom around here. I have a big impact on the residents’ lives. I need to know what they like and dislike – such as how they like their bed made – because for some residents I am one of the few visitors they get.”
When Loretta Steele, a domestic worker in Environmental Services at the Veteran’s Pavilion gave me that answer, my eyes filled up and I could feel my heart tighten in my chest. Her response was to a question I asked as I was looking for input on Eastern Health’s next Strategic Plan.
Loretta is obviously very passionate about her work and her workplace and she wanted me to know her ideas about priorities for this organization.
So, what exactly is a Strategic Plan and why should you care that Eastern Health has one?
In the past, many people didn’t know we had a Strategic Plan or – more importantly – didn’t see how their work related to the overall goals of Eastern Health.
In light of that, the Eastern Health’s Planning Department set out to take a different approach with our new plan for 2014-2017 – no small task in an organization like ours with nearly 13,000 employees, over 700 physicians and 1,200 volunteers!
Throughout 2013, the Planning Department – comprised of Planning Specialists Marie Duffett and myself, along with Director of Planning, Lisa Browne – visited every program throughout the Eastern Health region.
Through numerous meetings and walkabouts at various sites we talked with over 3,000 people about what they thought Eastern Health’s priorities should be. On top of that, we also got input from a number of community partners, including municipal representatives and members of wellness coalitions.
Two good examples of “champions” who helped along the way were Vickie McGrath, a supervisor in the Environmental Services Department, and Priscilla Corcoran-Mooney, a primary health care manager in Rural Avalon.
Vickie and Priscilla were generous hosts who introduced us to staff during the walkabouts, explained why we were looking for their feedback and encouraged people to speak their minds. Their down-to-earth, persuasive approach helped people feel comfortable sharing their ideas as well as their complaints. Many people even thanked us for asking their opinion in person while they worked!
Based on all of the rich feedback we received, a number of key themes emerged that helped shape our strategic priorities. In particular, we heard that Eastern Health should keep our four overall priorities and renew our efforts with each of them: Quality and Safety, Access, Sustainability and Population Health.
Their extensive feedback was then shared with Eastern Health’s Executive Team and Board of Trustees. Along with other key information such as recent Census data and Accreditation results, the new Strategic Plan was developed.
On June 30, 2014, our Strategic Plan was tabled in the House of Assembly to make it “official” and readily available to the public.
So, back to the question, “What exactly is a Strategic Plan, and why should you care that Eastern Health has one?”
The name of our new Strategic Plan is Together We Can, which speaks to how we all have a role to play in managing our health and in improving the overall health of our communities. We all contribute to achieving the goals set out in this plan, no matter where we work or live within Eastern Health. Now, isn’t that strategic?
To get details on the full plan, go to the Strategic Plan 2014-17 website or contact the Planning Department through Marie Duffett at (709) 777-8255 or email@example.com) or Gillian Janes at (709) 777-6773 or firstname.lastname@example.org). ■
This story was written by Gillian Janes, a planning specialist with the Planning Department at Eastern Health.