The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

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Art from the Heart Makes Hospital’s Smile

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, June 24, 2019

No job is ever ordinary—particularly if one chooses to make it “work”.  Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Work is love made visible.”  No place is this more evident than at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis where a 33-year-old housekeeper decided to make patients smile through her art.

In a recent engagement to speak to oncology nurses at Siteman Cancer Center, located on the campus of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, I found myself mesmerized and smiling at a huge purple elephant painted on a widow and at various other art objects tacked to a wall.

To my surprise, the art is the work of Kailey Custard, a full-time employee in environmental services who on her first day of work, noticed a colorful pair of two giraffes facing each other. The giraffes could be seen by patients and staff at St. Louis Children’s hospital across the street.

Kailey decided to join the fun. “Art is something that makes people happy because they can relate to it,” says Custard. “People are battling cancer on this floor and it’s sad. Instead of always being sad, I wanted to help our patients feel better.”

With the help of the nursing staff, patients and visitors now see pinwheels, paper flowers and new window paintings on the unit. Custard completes her projects on her breaks. According to Mary Drago, BSN, RN Clinical Nurse Manager on Custard’s floor, “Kailey coordinates art projects for staff, patients and visitors. She sings to our patients, makes waffles for the nurses, drew this amazing purple elephant on a window, while keep our floors spotless.”

BJG housekeepers are supplied with “while you were out” cards to let patients know what services were done while they were out of their room. But Kailey goes one step further. On the back of the card, she draws pictures or writes something encouraging. Custard believes this brings her closer to the staff, patients and visitors.

As I learned more about Kailey Custard. I realize she’s not a housekeeper. She’s a home-maker.

 

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Laughter Turns Upset into Onset

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, May 20, 2019

Laughter Turns Upset into Onset… for a relationship that is. Strangest thing about humor. When found and used appropriately, it creates a bond and wins people over. When confronted with serious situations, laughter is often the first ingredient to dispel tension and get things moving again. As Victor Borge was known for saying, “laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” It is also what attracts others to us and our services. 

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A Resiliency Killer: Loneliness

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, April 29, 2019

According to a CIGNA Survey conducted in 2018, 46% of Americans feel lonely sometimes or always. Only around half of Americans (53 percent) have meaningful, in-person social interactions, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family, on a daily basis. Gen Z's are among the most lonely. Although the 18-23-year-olds think they are super-connected, they are not. They're attached to the wireless "umbilical cords" connected to smart phones which—in the scheme of things—are not very smart. Communication that is purely digital can never replace the sound of a voice or the touch of a hand. Or—for that matter—the tone of a voice. Chronic use of social media increases loneliness. 

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Resilience Requires Support and Empathy

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, March 11, 2019

A recent study at the University of Michigan found that empathetic skills in college students have declined by as much at 48% over the last 8 years. The reasons for the decline are many, but two in particular stand out: 

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How to Stay Happily Married

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, February 11, 2019

Seems crazy but –as the song says—"what does love have to do with it?” 

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3 Tips for Creating Resilient Work Relationships—and it’s NOT Money

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, February 04, 2019

Let me first define what a resilient work relationship looks like. It is not someone who stays in the organization forever. The truth of the matter is people can “stay” but their minds and spirits are gone. Their bodies are present, but they are absentee landlords!  

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Our Common Fate Can Be Eased Through Singing

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, December 31, 2018

I am not talking about singing as you pay your taxes. Instead, it is the one fate that regardless of wealth, we all will experience: death. It is about joining your voice with others to ease the fear and pain of people who are facing the end of their lives. The seed for Threshold Choir began in 1990 when Kate Munger sang for her friend who was in a coma and dying of HIV/AIDS. In the 2 ½ hours that she sang, it comforted her while it comforted him. An idea was slowly born. Finally, through technology and the grace of women gathering together, Threshold Choir was born. 

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Resilience at Work Equals Great Cultures

By Eileen McDargh - Friday, November 02, 2018

Hyper-speed and hypertension. Connectivity 24/7. Disruption upon disruption. Technology that overturns the latest and the greatest. The list is endless as workers at all levels face an array of demands.  According to my colleague, Bill Jensen, 47% of jobs will disappear in the next 25 years which means workers at all levels will face a rethinking and retooling of what “work” really means.  

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Book Excerpt: Take A Bird’s Eye View of Life

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, October 29, 2018

“The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly alone, our home that must be defended like a holy relic.The Earth was absolutely round. I believe I never knew what the word round meant until I saw the Earth from space.”  

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Not All Disruption is Equal

By Eileen McDargh - Monday, October 22, 2018

Just this past week, I’ve been booked to speak about disruption and resiliency at an international women’s conference in Dublin, at a leadership forum for Colorado School of Mines, and at a large healthcare network involved in a merger. Disruption is on everyone’s mind.  

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