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CEO Corner: Gratitude, An Antidote to Burnout

Alice Ayres, MBA
Published:  10/17/2019

We talk a lot about the importance of gratitude in our work. The gratitude expressed by patients when they thank a caregiver, when they volunteer their time and energy to support our organizations, and when they support our mission through a philanthropic gift.

I just returned from bbCON, Blackbaud’s annual conference, where I had the privilege of joining a panel of healthcare philanthropy professionals to share stories of gratitude. One key part of our conversation was the impact expressions of patient gratitude have on our caregivers. Dr. Robert Emmons at UC Davis has done research showing that when our clinicians engage in gratitude exercises for only two weeks, they see a 28% reduction in perceived stress and a 16% reduction in depression. This is a game changer in a world where over 50% of physicians report feelings of burnout.

As philanthropy professionals who understand gratitude better than anyone, we are poised to lead our organizations into building a culture of expressing and accepting gratitude. We can help provide clinicians with the language they can use to engage with their patients expressing gratitude. We can train hospital employees in self-care and gratitude exercises. And in doing so, we can change the engagement and health of the entire organization.

I am thrilled that one of our keynotes at AHP International Conference this year is the story of Congressman Steve Scalise, alongside his trauma surgeon, Jack Sava, MD, and Susan Kennedy, RN, BSN, Senior Director of Trauma, Burns and Critical Care at MedStar Health. You will hear how gratitude brought these three together and helped save the life of the Congressman, not once but many times.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

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Meet The Author

Alice Ayres
Alice Ayres, MBA
President and CEO
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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