“Creating a Caring Culture” with Susan Groenwald, President, Chamberlain College of Nursing, and Health Means Business Champion

December 7, 2016

I recently spoke at the Chicago Health Means Business Forum where I was excited to witness the broad interest among our Greater Chicago Area business community in the connection between health and economic empowerment.

But how does a business begin to improve the health of its own community and employees, let alone the health of its extended community and the U.S.?

When I had my own business, I learned that promoting health among my employees went beyond providing insurance benefits, days off, and workers’ compensation benefits.

Because people spend most of their waking moments working – more than they spend with their families or in leisure activities – the best way a business can begin to contribute to health is to create an environment where their employees can thrive.

This means people feel valued, respected, and appreciated for their work.

In my current role, I serve as President of Chamberlain College of Nursing. One might think that a caring culture is an obvious attribute at a college where we prepare and educate nurses.

At Chamberlain College of Nursing, we set out to create an intentional culture of care – called Chamberlain Care™ – comprised of three elements: Care of self; care of colleagues; and care of students. The concept is that by creating a culture where our colleagues and students thrive, we are more likely to educate the kind of extraordinary nurses that everyone wants in the healthcare workforce.

We learned that the most impactful element of our intentional cultural transformation was the foundation – care for self. We empower employees to care for themselves first so that they can bring their best selves to work. “Care for self” is reinforced through Chamberlain Care training to ensure employees have a platform from which to hold themselves and each other accountable for living the values we instill.

Supporting a culture where employees can thrive – mentally, emotionally, and professionally – costs nothing except your time and commitment to modeling the behaviors you wish to promote.

For Chamberlain, the outcome was incredible. Employees told us they’ve never been in a work environment where they felt so cared for and supported – and that because they feel cared for, they are much more engaged in their work and better able to care for other colleagues and students. We have found that creating a caring culture in our community was well worth the investment we put in. We look forward to continuing to work with the Health Means Business campaign to build a culture of health in our community.