Connect Live

Connect Live | November 18, 2021
Story 63

This week, host Joyce Newmyer connects with Communication Executive Christine Pickering and Communication Manager Megan Simpson to discuss creating a culture of hope. In addition, learn why National Rural Health Day is especially meaningful at Adventist Health.

Joyce Newmeyer: Hello, everyone. And welcome to Connect Live at Adventist Health. I'm Joyce Newmeyer, the Chief Culture Officer at Adventist Health and your host for Connect Live. Live this week, we're talking about Rural Health Day, communications inspiring hope, and a tremendous hope. Adventist Health's mission of living God's love has no boundaries, meaning we don't serve any one type of patient or community. Instead, we provide expert hospital care and compassionate outpatient care in communities of all types and sizes, but it's the care we provide in our rural locations that truly makes Adventist Health unique. In fact, we are the largest provider of rural health in California, and one of the largest providers in the nation with four critical access hospitals, 70 rural health clinics in three states.

In the Aloha state, our rural health clinic is one of only three rural health clinics. Today is National Rural Health Day, and we want to celebrate the thousands of providers and associates who work in Adventist Health's rural health clinics and critical access hospitals. The rest of us are so proud to help support you and the amazing work you do. Thank you and congratulations. Today, I'm delighted to welcome our guests Christine Pickering and Megan Simpson. Thank you to both of you for joining me.

Christine Pickering: Great to be here.

Joyce Newmeyer: Christine, you're the Communications Executive for Adventist Health. Megan, you are one of the three communicators for are three hospitals in Kern County. So Christine, let me start with you. Communications is a very important part of creating culture and it's been absolutely crucial during COVID when we don't gather as we did before. What are some of the ways you and your team have created culture intentionally during the last couple of years?

Christine Pickering: Well, thanks for asking. It's been so inspiring for me to watch what our communicators do. So one thing with the pandemic we've noticed is that the information's changing constantly and communicators are on the front lines of that, trying to help their community and their team members understand it. So they're doing things like town halls, they're doing Facebook posts, they're doing videos, just to help get the message out and help people understand it.

But through that, they're laser focused on our culture, right? Because our team members are all out on the front lines for our patients. And so communicators are telling their stories. They're giving them opportunities to tell the community what it's like on the front lines, what it's like to be a nurse. They're letting the nurses tell their own stories. Another thing is visitor rules change all the time, and so they're constantly doing signs this week and another sign next to week. And it's just so impressive what they're doing and also supporting our executives and strategy communications. So there's just a lot going on. But they really recognize their sacred calling. As one of our communicators said, we're writing the first draft on history and I'm just so blessed to serve with them in that.

Joyce Newmeyer: Well, I know you're very proud of them and I know you love them all dearly. And we talk about their work a lot. And I just know how proud you are of them and what they're doing. Megan, welcome. And it's impossible for me to ignore what I see on the shelf behind you. Those are real-life Emmys and I am real-life impressed. So we want to know more about this. And what did you do before you came to Adventist Health?

Megan Simpson: Sure. Thank you, Joyce. So before I joined Adventist Health, I had the privilege of being a TV news producer. I've kind of done everything in TV except for in front of the camera, but it was a great opportunity. I learned a ton about the world and a community I live in and just a really fun time being news. And that's where the little Emmys came from. So producing a great team and great newscast that informed our community.

Joyce Newmeyer: Well, we're happy to get you in front of the camera today instead of behind the camera. So I'm glad you agreed to do this. I don't have an Emmy to give you, but I would, if I had one.

Megan Simpson: Thanks.

Joyce Newmeyer: With such a successful and rewarding career in television news, how and why did you choose to join us at Adventist Health?

Megan Simpson: So that's a really funny story. If you would've asked me eight years ago, would I ever work for a hospital or a healthcare system? I would've said no. I was terrified of hospitals. To me, that was a place where people went to die. I hadn't had a good experience as a child growing up with hospitals and thought that's not my place. But I worked on several committees and there were Adventist Health employees. And one was the Marketing Director at the time for Bakersfield. And he said, "Hey, would you ever consider working for us?" And I had to think about it for a while because of my fear of hospitals. But when I realized that I would get to still use the same tools that I already had telling stories and getting to know people, because I always believe that everyone has a story, that I would still get to do that, it was a great opportunity. And it also gave me more time with my family, as well. So I'm not working 16-plus hours a day sometimes. So it was really, really nice.

Joyce Newmeyer: Well, we're certainly glad to have you and consider it a privilege to have you part of our team. And speaking of the word team, I know that you feel strongly about the power of team and how important that is to you. So can you tell us what you love most about your job? And I'm pretty sure you're going to be talking about team, but tell us some other things, as well, that you love about what you do.

Megan Simpson: Sure. I am not the only communicator in Kern County. We have Teresa Adamo and Jaime Hernandez, and together we make kind of this dynamic team because each of us has different strengths. And I think I could speak for them, too. What they like best is telling the stories from the EVS workers cleaning the room to someone helping a fellow associate. There's a story constantly about something wonderful happening and within our hospital, within our clinics, within our cancer centers. I mean, it's an overabundance of fabulous stories of the way that our people are living our mission every single day. And I'm so inspired, and I feel so humbled to be able to work with such amazing people every day.

Joyce Newmeyer: Well, we are blessed with amazing people at Adventist Health, and the two of you are two of them. Maybe, Christine, can you share with us what some of your hope and maybe even dreams are for communications over the next couple of years? I mean, I know we're still in a pandemic. We have a vision of coming out of that, but what are some of the things that you're hoping to accomplish with talented people like Megan and our communications team?

Christine Pickering: Well, thanks for asking that Joyce. We have some strategic plans in the works for this, and what we're trying to do now is standardize the way we're communicating and also elevate it. And so what we're planning to do is talk with our associates and find out their journey: How are they getting information and what can we do to make it easier for them? Of our workforce, 75% are clinical and over half are nurses on the front lines, and they're not on their computers. They don't really have time to check emails. So we're working together to find ways to help them get the information they need. And then also to tell those stories that Megan talked about. People come to healthcare because they have a personal purpose, right? They want to make a difference. And it's just so wonderful when we can connect to that and help our community see what amazing people we have there.

Joyce Newmeyer: Well, purpose and meaning and making a difference. That's something that many healthcare workers maybe all have in common as why they choose this career. And I know it's a big, huge part of why both of you have chosen your careers, and we're so thankful that you choose to contribute your talents to Adventist Health. Thank you to both of you for inspiring hope and inspiring all of us through your communication talents.

Christine Pickering: Thank you, Joyce.

Megan Simpson: Thank you.

Joyce Newmeyer: Our final story today is a tremendous hope. Lisa Nunes, Learning and Organizational Development Executive for Adventist Health, was recently featured as a special guest on the Story and Experience Podcast. In this episode, Lisa shares about acts of kindness, choosing wisdom over fear, what gives her hope, and as an avid fan, of course, Star Wars. And when she looks back at times in her life when hope was not in ample supply, she describes the feeling of being carried by God when she couldn't walk herself. The feeling of comfort that the knowledge that God is always with us brings, that's hope. That's a tremendous hope, and it's a lot stronger than the dark side. You can listen to Lisa's podcast episode and many others at Friends, thank you for connecting live today, and we'll see you here again next week. Until then, let's be a force for good.