Bringing Heart to Healthcare. Emotional Connections at Southern DHB and Beyond 

In the fast-paced, high-stress world of healthcare, the well-being of staff often takes a backseat to patient care. However, two remarkable stories from the healthcare sector illustrate how focusing on emotional culture can transform team dynamics, even in the most challenging environments.

The Southern DHB Experience: A Culture Shift

At the Southern District Health Board (now known as Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora), the introduction of The Emotional Culture Deck marked the beginning of a cultural shift. Spearheaded by Mel Wallhurst, The ECD became a key tool in redefining team interactions and support systems.

The healthcare teams at Southern DHB, dealing daily with the unpredictability of patient needs and the relentless pace of change, found in The ECD a way to articulate their emotional landscape. This wasn't about adding another task to their workload; it was about creating space to understand and support each other better. From the vaccination team, newly formed and seeking direction, to more established teams navigating internal conflicts, The ECD facilitated a dialogue that wasn't happening before. Teams began to operate not just with a sense of duty but with a renewed sense of connection and empathy, turning challenges into opportunities for growth and cohesion.

Nursing Narratives: Connection Through Conversation

Parallel to the transformation at Southern DHB, a series of workshops with nursing teams revealed the profound impact of The ECD on frontline healthcare workers. In one workshop, a group of nurses described feeling like a bunch of ducks crash-landing onto a pond - together, yet chaotic. Through The ECD, they found a way to smooth out the waters, discussing their aspirations for connection and understanding what it truly meant to them.

The sessions were eye-opening. Nurses, often reticent to discuss emotions, found a voice and a space to share. "I don’t like talking about emotions, and this is really helping," admitted one participant, capturing the essence of The ECD's impact. It wasn't just about airing feelings; it was about linking those feelings to behaviors and actions in the workplace. Despite the constant battle with time, the more the team used The ECD, the more they found ways to integrate its lessons into their tight schedules, making every moment count.

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The Emotional Culture Canvas & Workshop Plan

The Emotional Culture Canvas & Workshop is the comprehensive toolkit the Goodstart Team used to support their centre teams to craft their emotional culture. The Canvas is a carefully structured guide that aids teams in mapping out their desired emotional culture. It transforms abstract emotional concepts into actionable strategies, promoting a healthy, vibrant culture that recognises and values the emotional drivers of performance.

Problem It Solves: The Emotional Culture Canvas addresses the often-neglected aspect of emotional dynamics within teams. By making the intangible tangible, it helps teams reduce conflict, enhance motivation, and improve overall satisfaction and productivity. It also helps in attracting and retaining talent by creating a workplace where emotional well-being is a priority.

Get your Emotional Culture Canvas & Workshop Plan Here >

The Takeaway: Emotional Culture as Healthcare's Heartbeat

These stories from Te Whatu Ora and the nursing workshops are more than just testimonials; they're a call to action. They highlight how focusing on emotional culture within healthcare can lead to more cohesive, supportive, and effective teams. In environments where the pressure never lets up, finding time to connect and understand each other's emotional landscapes isn't a luxury; it's a necessity.

The Emotional Culture Deck isn't just a set of cards; it's a catalyst for change. It encourages teams to open up, share, and grow together, proving that in the demanding world of healthcare, taking care of each other is just as important as taking care of patients. As these teams have shown, when healthcare professionals feel supported and connected, they're not just better colleagues; they're better caregivers.

In adopting The ECD, teams across the healthcare spectrum can transform their work environment, nurturing a culture where empathy, understanding, and psychological safety are as integral to healthcare as the medical care itself. The journey of Te Whatu Ora and the insights from nursing workshops underscore a powerful message: by bringing more heart into healthcare, we can create spaces where both staff and patients thrive.

Download free PDF of The ECD

Check out the PDF of The Emotional Culture Deck before you invest in the cards or any of our courses that help you learn how to use the game


Enrol in our ECD Online Masterclass

To really make the most of The Emotional Culture Deck, enrol in our Online Masterclass Course and put yourself enroute to emotional culture mastery.

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