Memorial Hospital Pembroke employees stepping up
August 05, 2016
For a new health initiative at Memorial Hospital Pembroke, the staff has taken the following adage to heart: “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs” (Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker).
In 2015, Memorial Hospital Pembroke CEO Mark Doyle and his team introduced the Employee Staircase Challenge to encourage people to take the stairs whenever possible.
“As healthcare providers, we tend to neglect ourselves,” says Hannah Rabinowitz, Director of Education, Memorial Pembroke. “We decided in the Education Department to improve wellness for our employees, for our staff and for our team members. So we thought of an initiative of taking the stairs.”
At the end of 2015, twenty-five departments formed teams and vied to take the most steps within a six-week timeframe. Inspirational hand-painted messages marked the walls of the stairwells to motivate people to keep climbing: “Believe;” “Get started!” “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated…day in and day out;” “The greatest wealth is health.” In the time it took to read the longer quotes, employees could catch their breath before tackling the next set of stairs.
Verna Fermin, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Memorial Pembroke, says that once they saw how easy it was to incorporate exercise into their lives, employees were more inclined to take the stairs. The competition became a secondary motivation to improving fitness.
Now that the official challenge is over, those inspirational messages remain as constant reminders to move every day – not just for the sake of a contest. Every sentence and word is also a record of a huge accomplishment.
To further promote movement, postings in the elevators show how many calories are burned walking the stairs. It’s a gentle guilt-trip made with the best of intentions, and it works. No longer a short-term undertaking, using the stairwell regularly is now de rigueur and expected of others.
Margie Aronson, Memorial Pembroke Quality Specialist, had knee surgery in February of this year. She’s been using the initiative’s goal as part of her rehab. Other employees are using the stairs as a steady form of exercise, rather than an incidental bonus. Ten minutes up and down and they’re set.
Promoting fitness has led to other positive changes at Memorial Pembroke. There’s talk of forming a walking group. The bottom line is that good health is easier to achieve than people realize. According to CEO Mark Doyle, it’s simple: “Keep taking the stairs.”