Does your unit have a newsletter?
A simple monthly or quarterly publication can be a powerful tool to bring your unit together as a team, lift morale, and inspire excellence.
Doesn’t matter if you are a new graduate or an old-hand…if you do not have a current ward newsletter, what you do have is a vacuum begging to be filled.
It can be as simple as a 1 page information sheet banged out as a word document, or as complex as a multi-page magazine with colour photos and snazzy layout.
I think you might be just the person to get one up and running.
Sure, its going to take a little time and commitment.
But be hardcore…..don’t worry about how well you can write, or how it will be received etc.
Just get jumping all over your keyboard and make things happen.
Produce a copy. It doesn’t have to be Time Magazine. It will grow.
You will find once you overcome the sticky inertia of your silly beliefs that you cant write,
or everyone will think it is the most stupid newsletter since the Teletubbies weekly,
or you are too junior (too senior)
……once you overcome them, you will be surprised just how quickly things flow to fill a one page newsletter.
See? Now it will have to be 2 pages.
Get a friend or colleague involved. Talk about it over coffee (your shout). Get your combined juices flowing. Now you really do have a newsletter!
Think of a catchy name that is relevant to your specialty.
Go show it to your unit manager and get him/her on board (and if they do not buy into the importance of a good newsletter…..performance manage them).
Print out some copies and leave them in the tea room. Let the staff know that this will be a regular publication (oh…you are so committed now).
Make sure you include a section in the newsletter asking for contributions (and people to help you out with the next issue).
Once it becomes popular (and if you commit to regular publications, with useful information…it will) you can get a list of staff who would like to receive their copy via email (just to save some paper).
And that is exactly how this website came into existence by the way. I never thought anyone would want to read my stupid ramblings. But one day I decided to contribute to our ED newsletter ‘ImpactED’….and I have been rambling on ever since.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about things to include in your first edition:
- The month in review: Highlights from the month and important pieces of information that have been disseminated. Remind everyone where and how you are tracking as a team.
IMPORTANT: A newsletter will be handed around. Especially if it becomes popular. Who knows where it will end up. So never include confidential or sensitive information.
- Diary: keep track of upcoming social events, conferences, hospital happenings. Even staff birthdays (if you can ever get them to fess up to the date).
- Journal reviews: a simple bullet point summary of an interesting journal article (or two). Reference the article so readers can go check it out.
- Celebrate achievements and milestones. Both individual and team. Someone passed their ACLS?…congratulate them in the newsletter. Incidents of workplace safety incidents down this month?….celebrate and high five anyone responsible.
- Do a short case study or review on a topic of interest. This works really well if it is relevant to a patient or event that is current (but remember to keep it de-identified etc).
- Staff profile: Get to know a member of your staff a little better. Or introduce a new one. It doesn’t need to be a penetrating expose, just a few paragraphs on professional background, hobbies and likes. That sort of thing.
- Pictures: It is a little more work, but I guarantee if you can include some pictures from ward dinners, events etc, people will instantly be more involved in what is in your mag. But don’t go all paparazzi. Get their OK first.
- Fun stuff: Yes. It is OK to make it fun. My advice is not to fall into the trap of making it all corporate and serious and shit. We can subscribe to journals or read the hospital newsletter for that.
Make it fun, make it interesting, make it engaging (and then sneak some learning in amongst it all: Ninja Knowledge).
Recipes. Puzzles. Movie reviews (by staff members). Be creative.
I’m sure you can think of even better content ideas. The trick is:
- Get it going.
- Keep it going.
And..if your unit already has a newsletter….how about you make a contribution to the next edition?
Do not ever underestimate your power to drive change, lift spirits and improve the quality of your unit through your printed words and the words of those you work with.