I have always been a very inquisitive person. I want to know who, what, where, when, why, and how. Since I was a kid, I have always had a million questions and wanted to have the answers to everything. In school, I would always be the person with her hand up to ask a question. I’m sure it drove some people crazy, but it helped my understanding of topics infinitely. At work, I am always the person to ask why things are done they way they are if there is an alternate option that may be faster/cheaper/easier.
My first job in healthcare was working as a housekeeper at a hospital. I worked in that department for two years and by the end of my journey with them, I was the Quality Improvement (Q.I.) representative for the department along with the department trainer (for new employees and reorienting established employees). I was in charge of writing, reviewing, and altering procedures and protocols to reflect the easiest/cheapest/safest/best way to comply with regulations. I am going to be blatantly honest, I loved it and miss that part of my job. I love to train new employees and I love problem solving.
Working in Q.I., I focused on projects that would decrease waste and expenses while maintaining safe practices for our employees. I dealt a lot with decreasing unnecessary linen expenses which included limiting stock in each department. When we decreased available linen in the department to what was needed on average, their use decreased. There wasn’t linen falling out of cupboards and onto the floor (and needing to be put in dirty laundry bin) because the shelves weren’t jam-packed with supplies. We thought about the problem (excessive linen costs) and then we brainstormed possible solutions. Sure, not all of the solutions worked, but it’s all a process and we eventually got into a routine that showed a positive influence from our actions. It’s not about having only great ideas, it’s about trying new things and realizing when you have a good idea and when the idea is not worth keeping around (and being okay with it).
Since that job, I have continued the quality improvement mindset. I always find myself looking at current processes and trying to find ways to make them better. This helps to make the offices I work in more efficient and less stressful. I think that more employers should entice their employees to think proactively and figure out how to better the work environment. And they should definitely have an open mind for new ideas that could better the office and it’s processes.
We spend so much of our lives at our place of employment. Why not try to make it the best environment possible?