How to Boost Employee Morale Amid Staffing Crisis and Compassion Fatigue


george avila

George Avila

Vice President, Mission Integration, CHRISTUS Health


Lance Mickelsen

Vice President, Business Development, Stericycle


Simone Lavallee

Senior Content Manager, Marketing, Stericycle

digital health awards winner fall 2021Nurse shortages and compassion fatigue are significant problems in healthcare today. Learn how CHRISTUS Health is boosting employee morale by showing compassion and empathy for employees.

Register to learn:

  • Why CHRISTUS Health created their Associate Wellbeing Check-In Program.
  • How the program has helped boost employee morale and ensure staff feels cared for.
  • How health systems can be creative and intentional with the support they provide to nurses and staff through compassionate personal touches like outbound calls and text messages.


“This has been a rough time, and it’s great that the company I work for is concerned about my well-being.”

— CHRISTUS Health Associate



Simone Lavallee: “Good afternoon or good morning, depending on where you're joining us today from. I am very excited to be here virtually with you, joined by George Avila and Lance Mickelsen to have a discussion about healthcare staffing and the current compassion fatigue crisis. Before we get started, we have a few general housekeeping items for this webinar that I'd like to bring to your attention. The webinar is being recorded and will be sent to all registrants’ inbox within 48 hours. If you are having trouble with the audio. Try refreshing your browser and making sure that the volume on your computer is turned all the way up. We will be answering some questions at the end of this webinar. So at any point during the discussion, please feel free to submit questions you have to the Q&A box on your screen. We will try to get to as many as possible. I'm Simone Lavallee, Senior Content Marketing Manager for Stericycle Communication Solutions, joining you from the Nashville area today. I'd like to introduce you to our two guests, George and Lance. Would you like to introduce yourselves? Tell us a little bit about what you do, your background and where you're joining us from today. Let's start with you, George, and then proceed to Lance.”

George Avila: “Thank you, Simone, and thank you for the opportunity to be with you all today. Again, my name is George Avila and I serve as the System Vice President of Mission Integration for CHRISTUS Health. We are a Catholic Healthcare Ministry based out of Irving, Texas, and we have a variety of healthcare services in four countries. So we're in the United states, Mexico, Chile and Colombia. In my role as the System Vice President of Mission Integration, my role asks me to ensure that we are building and developing a culture that is rooted in our core values and is also rooted in our mission, which is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. So I work in collaborative with people in all four countries to make sure that we're building this culture that will allow our associates to be able to grow and to be able to continue to develop and the organization, and also to make sure that we're creating associates that will provide the highest quality, compassionate care to our community. I have been in Catholic Healthcare for over 20 years, and so I would say I have grown up in Catholic Healthcare and I've had the opportunity to be able to work in the areas of community health, community benefit. And now just more focused in the culture, development area and mission integration. Thank you for the opportunity to be here.”

Simone Lavallee: “Thank you George, hi, Lance.”

Lance Mickelsen: “Hello Thanks for the opportunity to be here. And we certainly appreciate George and his willingness to join us today. We appreciate the CHRISTUS System and the partnership we have with them. And as I've got to know, George, it's been fun to get to know him, but also you can feel his passion and his energy for the topic that we're going to discuss today. And you can feel it that George just really cares. And so, I can't think of a better person that we could have talked about this subject today. So, we appreciate you being here. And we look forward to having his insights. I am Vice President here at Stericycle Communication Solutions in our commercial organization, and my primary role is to help work with our existing customers who we appreciate very much. That's my passion is our customers and how we can help them sustain and fulfill the missions that they have set out for themselves. And we do that in a variety of ways. My background is in business process, outsourcing in the services industry. I've been involved in that for 20 plus years and that is my passion is making sure that we take good care of our customers and they get value for what we're the services we are providing. So again, appreciate the opportunity to be here and appreciate George and his insight. So, and I'm joined from Utah, actually. So, I'm on mountain time zone today.”

Simone Lavallee: “Right! Well, thank you so much, George and Lance. With that, let's just dive right into little bit of background here. Nurse shortages and compassion fatigue truly predate the pandemic. However, right now, health systems across the United States are witnessing unprecedented levels of compassion fatigue and high turnover rates due to the physical and emotional stress brought on by the past year and a half of the COVID 19 pandemic. Some nurses have opted for a career change, early retirement, or less demanding assignments, which is leading to clinical staffing shortages at many hospitals. And now hospitals are reaching a crisis point, straining under the dual forces of more people seeking routine care and surging COVID 19 hospitalizations driven by the Delta variant to respond to this challenge, CHRISTUS Health came to Stericycle with a unique project idea to foster employee resilience. To paint the picture for our audience, George, and Lance, can you share insight or experiences into the current nurse shortage and talk a little about what compassion fatigue is? George, I think I'm going to give this one to you.”

George Avila: “Thank you, Simone. I wanted to reflect, you know, and I think it's not only the case for CHRISTUS Health, but all healthcare organizations throughout the country, I'd say throughout the world, if you, you know, we've all been through these different stages of the pandemic. And so, we kind of think, OK, it's over or we're reaching a different, a different point now. But if anything, we've learned from this pandemic, it's unpredictable. So, I'll just say, you know, picture it. You know, we think back 18 months ago when this pandemic was starting, we a lot of us just thought, oh, this will be two weeks. This will be a two-week virus and we'll be back to normal. And so, we very quickly realized that that wasn't going to be the case. And so as different healthcare organizations struggle to ensure that we had enough PPE, we wanted to make sure that we were going to be able to keep our associates safe, that we were going to be able to provide care to our patients, trying to figure out how to ensure we had enough ventilators. And for CHRISTUS, especially, we're not just in the US so we had to make sure we had ventilators and PPE in four different countries and that we were able to deliver on the highest level of care. And so that first part, there was a lot of creativity, there was a lot of bobbing and weaving to be able to figure out how it is that we're going to be able to solve these things. And so, through partnerships, we persevered, and we were able to move forward. Hope then came from the vaccine, so a lot of us thought great. The vaccine is coming. We're all going to be vaccinated. And this will be over immediately. And so, we realized that there was vaccine hesitancy in our communities and especially in the communities that we're in at CHRISTUS. That was a big that was a big issue for us and trying to figure out the best way to try to advocate and ensure that people were taking the vaccine. So then came the next surge, right? The surge that with the Delta variant and so people were tired before. And so now with this surge, it was extremely difficult, and so there was a lot of struggle at the beginning and this time the level I must share with you, the level of death that our associates have had to see has really impacted them and really feel, OK, are we? How are we making an impact here? It's been very difficult because a lot of our patients and I'm sure for a lot of healthcare organizations, they have not been able to save them. So, our associates, like so many across healthcare, they need respite, right, they need this moment to be able to disconnect, to be able to, we say, refill your bucket. But what's going on? Because now there is this nursing shortage. And so, although we'd like to say, take time off, take PTO, your paid time off. We can't because we're there is a nursing shortage crisis and we don't have the clinical staff available to be able to staff, all our beds. So, what the first issue was, we didn't have enough PPE. Now we have the PPE, we have all the equipment. And so now we don't have necessarily the associates or the clinical teams to be able to provide the support. And so, one thing that has also come out, which I'm sure everybody listening today, if you're in healthcare is experiencing associates have also taken different opportunities that because of this, so COVID has presented different opportunities for clinical folks to be able to work a little bit differently. And so, people are facing different life situations. For some people, their spouse lost their job because of the pandemic. So, if I'm a nurse, maybe now I'm the only person that must support my family or one spouse had to stay home to take care of our kids because of remote learning. And so, a lot of people have opted to contract work. And so, they've become traveling nurses. They've gone to different areas. And I was talking with our chief nursing officer yesterday about this, and we were trying to figure out why would why would somebody leave? And so, we were thinking, you know, some nurses are earning up to $14,000 a month as a traveling nurse. And so, I was joking if there was suddenly, a huge need for a mission, a traveling mission leader to go out. And I was going to be able to double my salary to be able to benefit my family. Would I not take that opportunity? So, we can't say, how could you? Because we need to be able to just understand people are in different life situations. And as organizations, as people, we need to be able to understand that. So, I know that's a little long winded, but that's just kind of how we're looking at the Panorama here through our lens.”

Simone Lavallee: “Absolutely and Lance what do you have to add?”

Lance Mickelsen: “Well, I you know, I feel compassion for them, I guess is where my head is. I mean, I think, you know, I think about the COVID fatigue that I have and then I think of some of these providers and what they might be going through, you know, not only physically having to do multiple shifts and multiple days in a row and those different types of things, but also just the mental fatigue that it takes, you know, to do what they do every day to see that the death and to have maybe that helpless feeling that some of those patients, they just can't help. I think a lot of these clinicians got in the business because that's who they are. They like to help people and it can be frustrating sometimes when they feel helpless. And I think some of that is I feel the compassion for them, and I just hope we can get through it quick and help some of these people, because they really are the front line and the heroes of our day to help us get through what we're going through. You know, there was a nursing shortage prior to COVID. And so, you know, I think some of the numbers I saw were 9 or 10. There was a 9% or 10% shortage in nurses before this even started. So now it's been exacerbated. So that's what we're going through. I don't have all the answers for sure, but I certainly feel for what our health systems in our country and throughout the world are dealing with.”


Simone Lavallee: “There was a recent study at New York Presbyterian and the Weill Cornell Medical enter, which found that COVID 19 has highly impacted nurses’ intent to leave their current positions and even the nursing profession altogether. I'm going to give you some of these numbers quickly. Among 5,000 nurses who were surveyed, pandemic impact was rated high overall and highest in those with 25 or more years of experience and in managers and directors. A total of 11% said they intended to leave their positions and 20% were undecided. Those who rated the pandemic's impact at the highest level had a higher intent to leave their positions. How do you think healthcare employers can react to these staggering numbers to make sure that the healthcare labor force isn't depleted further to even more unmanageable levels?”

Lance Mickelsen: “I think it's a work in progress. I'll go give a couple of comments, but George will certainly have some insights, I'm sure. But you know, I think what we'll talk about a little bit today of what CHRISTUS did you know? It's to try to help with their associates, but we recently rolled out a program with a large teaching institution in the Midwest, similar to what we did for the CHRISTUS system, where we're actually making phone calls to folks who have left this teaching institution to find out why they left, to really dig in and understand what was some of the reasons they left, and not only to help the HR department to help the HR department, to help the other departments in the organization to really try to dive deep into what are some of the things that would have helped him stay? You know, most of the time, it's not money. It's some of the things we've already talked about, but I think it's a work in progress. Simone, I think we're trying to figure that out right now. And to my point, I think, you know, health systems are in the process of doing that. I think what CHRISTUS did proactively was certainly something that made, in my opinion, the associates feel like they were, they were they were wanted. They were needed more than just a few pizzas thrown around the O.R. or the nurse station. They felt like, you know, hey, my employer cares about who I am and what I'm trying to do, but I don't know. I don't know if there's a silver bullet here. I think it's going to be a combination of things, depending where you're at in the country and depending where these individuals work. But it's certainly something we need to keep our eye on to make sure we keep our health system in check.”

Simone Lavallee: “Absolutely Lance, you just mentioned the CHRISTUS Health associate wellbeing check-in program. Can George, are you able to tell us a little bit more about that and why CHRISTUS Health created it? And can you share the feedback that you've received thus far since starting the program?”

George Avila: “Thank you Simone. So, I'll address why we looked at it and why we came to this, this approach. So as that was mentioning before, as many healthcare organizations realized that this was not going to be a two-week pandemic, many healthcare organizations, I'll say I'll speak even for Catholic Healthcare in the U.S., right, we're all connected, or we went to school together or we work together in some way or another. And so, we were calling each other. We were having webinars and sessions to think about how is it that we could respond to this? That was going to be longer than two weeks. And so, several organizations had their internal infrastructure where they could respond internally to things. And one of the conversations I remember we had, which I thought was very innovative and advanced. So, Trinity Health at Trinity Health had a conversation with us, and they told us about how they were reaching out to their associates and rounding with them while they had an amazing behavioral health infrastructure that allowed them to just very quickly pivot. And now face it towards their associates and be able to respond in that way. And so, CHRISTUS decided early on, we wanted to make sure that our approach was personal. We wanted to make sure that people felt that we were connecting with them individually. And so, we pulled together a multidisciplinary group. And so that's where I will say that was a key to our success at CHRISTUS. This wasn't a mission integration initiative. This was a mission integration of human resources, talent, learning and development. It was a Benefits Resource Change management, communications, strategic marketing, patient experience. We all came together and said we have to address this proactively. And so, as we often do, we say, well, let's think out of the box here and let's figure out what it is that we can do to reach out to our associates. You know, we felt we had the wording that we wanted to use to be able to communicate with our associates. We knew that message that we wanted to provide. And so, but we were, but we were lacking that associates to be able to implement the program for us. So, we didn't have the structure that Trinity Health did. And so that kind of stumped us. And I'll say it's stumped this for about two weeks because I kept trying to get along. And so finally, at one point, we're in a discussion and someone from strategic marketing says, you know what we've worked with as Stericycle for so many years now. They're a trusted partner for so many of our community campaigns. And so, we talked about, you know, we've trusted them to be CHRISTUS’ face to our patients and to our consumers. Why not engage them and see if they could, if they could be the face of CHRISTUS, the hands of CHRISTUS to our most precious resource, which are our associates. And so, we've had this long relationship, this relationship of kinship, where we can go back with one another to try to figure out what it is that we can do. And so, for us, Stericycle gave us that personal touch. They had a team of clinically trained nurses that would be able to ask a series of questions to be able to determine how our associates were doing, what was their well-being looking like, what was bringing them strength, what was difficult for them. And maybe they just wanted to talk to somebody because they didn't have those two minutes to themselves. But this Stericycle nurse was available to them, and the best part of it, it was confidential. It wasn't somebody this Stericycle nurse wasn't going to call and say, hey, this nurse said this. It was a confidential resource. It was a trusted relationship that we could engage about. And so, for us at CHRISTUS, we talk about that. Our vision calls us to make sure that we ensure all may experience God's healing presence and love. And so, for us, we didn't have the people power to be able to do it. But Stericycle really was that extension of God's healing and presence and love for our associates. And so that that's what makes me so happy is that we can partner and do that. So what we did is we developed a personal outreach program. And so basically what would happen is that we would get a list of our associates from a ministry that was experiencing high levels of stress or had high levels of COVID patients. We would get the list work with HR, get the contact information for our associates, give them the option to opt out. We send texts. And we send an email, say if you don't want to call from the associate being checking program, let us know and we won't bother you. And then from there we work closely, then with Stericycle to be able, as I mentioned, to develop the script, how will it be seamless? It's not hi, I'm calling on behalf of Stericycle is like, no, hi, I'm calling on behalf of CHRISTUS Health and I just want to say thank you. Thank you for all that you've been doing to be able to provide the highest quality and compassionate care to our community and our consumers. And so that was an amazing thing for people to do because in the day to day, I think we've been so busy we don't take time to say thank you. And so that meant a lot for people to be able to get that. So, through the asking of questions, and that was the great part, because our nurses are trained their clinicians, they can get cues from talking to people to figure out, OK, you answered that kind of hard. I saw that that was hard, or you might need this resource. And then what? That clinician, the nurse from Stericycle is able to do, they were able to say, you know, it sounds from what we're talking about. You know, I can transfer you right now to an EAP counselor. And so all the organizations out there, how many emails have we sent out feeling stressed, feeling overwhelmed? Call EAP, call EAP, call EAP, and text EAP. And so, what we saw nationally at numbers actually went down. People were actually calling EAP less. And so, for us, we wanted to take away that guesswork or is that phone number that I need to call and say, I can connect you right now? And so, they were able to do live transfers. And for us at CHRISTUS, we talk about we heal mind, body, and spirit. So, the spirit part was very important for us. And so, something that we added is we also added an option to relate to the chaplain. So, offer that spiritual support. And so, Stericycle would say, you know, would you like somebody to pray with you? And the person said, yes, we take their information, and then we would have a chaplain contact the associate within two days to be able to connect and to be able to have that, that conversation. So that was very much part of our identity that they were able to do there.”

Simone Lavallee: “Fantastic Lance, can you talk about Stericycle’s role in this CHRISTUS' health associate well being check-in program and maybe talk a little bit about the white glove service that Stericycle offers?”

Lance Mickelsen: “Yeah you know, one thing I was going to mention, though, George, is some of the feedback I think you've shared with us is the associates were just they just felt good that somebody reached out to them. They didn't necessarily want to speak to a chaplain at that time. Or, you know, they were just happy that a company, you know, CHRISTUS, the CHRISTUS System, they felt good enough about their employees and who they were to reach out to them and just, you know, make sure they were a presence. I thought that was interesting feedback where, you know, they didn't necessarily need to speak to a chaplain or whatever it might be. They just felt good. And that goes a long way. You know, if your employer calls you and let you know that they care and want to know how you're doing. I thought that was interesting feedback.”

George Avila: “And Lance, I'll share because usually when we get our associate engagement surveys, sometimes you hear about the things that maybe we're not doing so well as an organization that we need to respond. And so, I was reading through our nurse survey and so a nurse specifically said, “wow, it was so great that my employer reached out to me to check and see how I was doing.” And so that to show up. And for a nurse to take time to say, I'm going to type it in between a shift to get that positive feedback for us was, you know, it just reiterated again, our partnership with Stericycle gave that personal touch and our associates told us about it. So that's great.”

Lance Mickelsen: “Yeah, Yeah. Simone to answer your question about, you know, our white glove approach and a little bit of color around that, we pride ourselves in being a solution-based company. And I think George alluded a little bit to the fact that, you know, we kind of work together on a problem and put a workflow on a solution together that would meet the need of what the CHRISTUS system was trying to accomplish. And so, it wasn't, you know, something that was we had done out of the box in the past. And so, we worked together as a group to say, OK, here's the problem how do we solve it? And I think it came together really well, and that's really how we like to work with our customers is is, you know, we're problem solvers and a solution based organization, and that's how we like to view our selves, whether it be from a live voice perspective, whether it be from an online scheduling perspective, whether it be from a patient communication perspective, we do have a full solution set to be able to solve those problems on when systems need our help. But, you know, we really pride ourselves in being brand ambassadors and not just answering the phone. Understanding what, what customers needs, what, the CHRISTUS way is. If I can use that word and be an extension of what they're trying to accomplish in their ministries and their missions, and whether it be appointments, setting appointments, physician referrals, helping with marketing campaigns, whatever it might be, we really, truly, truly try to become an extension of them and build that domain knowledge. And so, if they're calling our our, our associates that they really feel like they're calling CHRISTUS and Stericycle name doesn't even ever even be brought up. And that's what we're excited about, that we can become an extension of our partners. And what excites me is about once a week, we get some feedback from one of our customers, patients who call and want to talk to a manager. And most of the time it's to give us feedback that I just really want to let you know that my interaction with, so and so was great. They were empathetic. They understood my problem and they help me solve my problem. And we spend it's a 7-figure number on our dime from a training perspective every year to train our employees in and around how to become advocates for the brands and to understand because we're in the healthcare industry to really help them understand empathy and what it means to be empathetic. In fact, we're in the throes right now of a big project to understand different points of empathy from a compassionate empathy standpoint, from a cognitive empathy standpoint, from an emotional empathy standpoint, so we can take it even further to become healthcare experts and make sure we we're helping in the overall cause. So, hope that answers the question that you asked.”

Simone Lavallee: “It absolutely does. Can you give us any like examples or scenarios where our call center agents and particularly their interactions with patients? Let's talk about empathy around that and how important it is to be able to express that empathy without overstepping or, you know, those kinds of things. Do you have anything else to say about various campaigns that we've worked on?”

Lance Mickelsen: “Well, I think in general, we've always wanted our folks to understand what it's like to put themselves in other people's shoes, and that's and that can be challenging because some of these calls, you know, we've got to worry about our handle times a little bit just from a cost standpoint. So, we've got to try to move the call along. But we've also got to be empathetic and be able to put ourselves in their shoes and you can't fake it. It's got to be sincere and genuine. And so that's what we spend a lot of time on. And not only that, but you have to have the knowledge. You have to have accurate information and really put yourself in their shoes so you can make sure they have a good experience. It's all about experience having a good experience and whether it be responding to marketing campaigns, which we do a lot of or physician referrals, which usually people are in need. They may be in pain or if we're trying to get them in the door to from a scheduling standpoint, those are three different really types of calls. And so our training really dives into making sure we're handling those calls differently because in a lot of cases, they're triaged differently. You know, a marketing campaign for a mamo campaign or a heart health campaign that calls a little bit different than somebody who really needs to get into the doctor to make sure they're going to be OK over the next week or so. And so we spend a lot of time. Yeah, yeah, we spend a lot of time on those pieces to make sure and in conjunction with our customers to make sure that they have a good experience, you know, in this case for CHRISTUS.”

Simone Lavallee: “But too, and that's exactly what we are referring to when we talk about the white glove experience. And I really appreciate you being able to just expand on that. So George and Lance, besides programs similar to the CHRISTUS Health wellbeing check-in program, do you think there are any other actionable ways that health systems can reduce the stress that's placed on their staff? George?”

George Avila: “I’ll share first. From my perspective, right, not being a not being a clinician, but one of the great things for me has been is that I have a great relationship with our chief nursing officer, our chief medical officer. And so we work collaboratively to be able to figure out how best to respond. And so as we've talked about it and I guess we've been saying, well, it's not necessarily rocket science what we're trying to do again, we want to make sure that people feel that personal touch. And in an environment where we've been afraid to touch each other or even get close to each other, I feel people are thirsting or thirsting for that. And so really, what we're looking at as CHRISTUS is, is to really be able to see how can we connect one on one. And so as we always say, round with your associates, round with your associates. And so we're engaging our executive teams. Leadership teams our physician leadership teams, nursing teams to go out and round with our associates. Say thank you. How are you doing? How can I help you today? Because we do here in our, you know, we do here in our inner service. I want to see our leader. I want to know that our leader is here with us. And so we've really been looking at that one of our ministries, they decided to send, each executive team member sent a thank you note to all their nursing directors handwritten and said, OK, thank you so much for everything you’ve been doing and for supporting our ministry, and this one was my favorite, the executive team said. We're going to go clean all of the break rooms for the clinical teams in the hospital. And so to have your chief, your chief, your CEO, your president, your chief nursing officer, your chief medical officer, as nurses walk in and say, what are you doing in here? I'm making this comfortable space for you because I want it to be clean. And so I have to tell you that went that will go far beyond anything that we can do. And so that is really I feel that at CHRISTUS, that's one of our strengths. That's that's part of our brand identity. It's that personal touch for our patients and consumers. So we want to make sure and reflect that for our associates. And then I got asked, this was my favorite day at CHRISTUS. George, can you go hand out hamburgers to our associates? I didn't just put it in a room. I went to each station and gave people their hamburger and their drink and said, thank you so much. I know you don't have time to leave the lunch, so here's your lunch. And so it wasn't come to conference room a or B and pick up a slice. It's like now I'm bringing food to you. I'm caring for you. And then just finally, one thing that we're doing that other organizations might want to look at. Don't wait to the end of the pandemic to have a lessons learned session. So we sometimes, well, we'll wait. Once this is over, then we'll have to have an organizational strategy to be able to figure out how will, how we'll respond. And so at CHRISTUS, something that we're doing, we're calling it the CHRISTUS 100. And so we're holding a session in October. We're bringing leaders and associates from across the ministry, from all four countries to come together and talk about what have we learned? How has this changed our culture and what culture do we need to develop for CHRISTUS Health in order to be able to move forward? And so again, we could wait till we feel things are OK, but we're being proactive about it, and we feel that that's going to give us that, that advantage as we get out of this pandemic. And I am confident that we will, we will.”

Simone Lavallee: “Sounds like you're really plugged in to what your nurses and clinicians are feeling and that you've made it a really comfortable environment for them to let you know that as well. So thank you so much.”

Lance Mickelsen: “I think that I mentioned earlier about, you know, George's passion and you know, and he is genuine in sincerity and obviously it just came out. I think that's such I think that's such an important thing to point out. That that it's a personal touch. And I think that's what it's going to take. I think during this time, we've had to be so transactional to get things done, to get things accomplished. And sometimes when you have to be transactional, to get a job and a task accomplished, we forget, or the personal touch side of that gets lost a little bit. And I think going out and handing out a hamburger to somebody, I mean, if somebody did that to me, I'd never forget it. That's not transactional. You know, that's a personal touch that you know, you ask the question earlier, how can health systems? Do a better job of retaining employees. I think there's a lot to be said for that, for that. That personal touch and it might sound simple. And if you're listening to this webinar, you think, well, I'm listening to this webinar to hear that, but I think we forget it. The other thing I think we forget about and it's easy to do in this transactional environment and in the pandemic and I notice it in my personal life, is when I start missing the communication pieces of just the simple communication. Make sure I'm doing the little things to make sure everybody is on the same page. From a communication standpoint, it really helps make things go a lot smoother in a business environment, I'm sure in a clinical or a clinician environment. If we're communicating because everybody's at a heightened level of sensitivity. And if they understand where they sit and where things stand, I think they'll be in a little better spot mentally than if it's just organized chaos for lack of a better word.”

Simone Lavallee: “Absolutely agreed. That's such excellent feedback. I think we've really touched on this here, which is that empathy and action going to work best when they're paired and done with true intention.”

George Avila: “And Simone I'll add to that. Sorry to cut you off because and what Lance and I believe what you're saying, even in this environment right now, right? We've heard $30,000 sign on bonus, $20,000 sign on bonus. You're going to make all this, this money. And so as I have been thinking about this, it's really well, that's great. The money is wonderful. And people need it at the time. But what I really challenge is challenge us as organizations is to really look at. But what culture are we creating for that nurse, for that respiratory therapist or what that physician that's coming to us because the money will run out, but the culture will be consistent. So what will keep you from saying? Well, now they're offering me a $40,000 bonus across the street, so I'll see you later. And so you've got them. So have those personal conversations. What brings you joy? What makes you feel like you're making a difference? How would you like to grow within the organization? What things can I do for you to allow you to because clinicians want to practice at the highest level of their license? How will I get you there for them to really be able to understand now you're not just an associate that we've brought here. I care for you and I want to sponsor you and continue to develop you so you will be part a permanent part of CHRISTUS. So I'll say continue for people that are offering the bonuses. That's great. And if different organizations are in different environments and can do that continually, but we just we also want to be strategic about that and make sure and say so if you know we're trying to be healthier, maybe not a hamburger today. Maybe you bring me a popsicle tomorrow, right? But or an Apple. But those are the things that are going to make people feel like you care for them.”

Lance Mickelsen: “It'll be interesting to see Simone. You know, I mentioned the system we're working with in the Midwest large teaching institution that's doing a post exit survey to find out why, why these folks, these clinicians left. It would be real interesting. I hope I have access to that data to see what some of that entails. If it's what percentage of it was to George's point financially driven and which of it was just other things that we've talked about today that are maybe a little bit. A little bit more soft, I guess, for lack of a better word than just money and logistics.”

Simone Lavallee: “I think for lots of us, change is not an easy thing to come to a decision about, especially leaving a work home where you might have worked and, you know, enjoyed your professional life for many years. And I don't think people leave lightly. So I too would be really, really interested to hope that we can have access to some of those answers. I want to thank you both so much for your expertise and sharing with this audience today. We're at time, so we're going to begin answering some of these questions that our audience have submitted to us. The first one is, George, what made CHRISTUS Health choose Stericycle as a partner for this program?”

George Avila: “Thank you Simone, you know, I mentioned earlier, we've had such a long relationship with Stericycle in the past, I know even some of our associates are part of the advisory team for Stericycle as they're trying to determine new, new initiatives. And so it was this long-trusted relationship that we've had with them and it was just so easy to communicate with them. And so I just remember sending that email to Val. And Val was, of course, let's set up this call and talk about it. Let's dream together. And so usually say, hold on. I need to check with people. No, it was like, well, let's get on the call. Let's see if we can. We can make this happen. And so helping us to be able to move. So quickly and to be so agile for us, that's why it's Stericycle has been our partner for this long and we look forward to continuing this partnership.”

Simone Lavallee: “Fantastic, it must have felt really good to be able to know that you had a partner there who was agile, but also, hey, I guess we've never called associates, but why not? Why not us? Why not now? Let's do it. Love that. Lance, have you run similar types of outbound campaigns for patient wellness?”

Lance Mickelsen: “We have we're I mean, it's just what we do. I mean, that's part of what we do every day, whether it's, you know, outreach from a mamo campaign or heart health, flu shots, whatever customers, our customers, the health systems need patient communication and to have need a call to action or ways to access their patients. They come to us for that and a variety of different ways, whether it's using technology or whether it's using live voice. You know, one, Simone, that I would mention that's pretty exciting right now is when we have data of folks that list no primary care physician on their information where we can reach out and get them a primary care physician. So they can ultimately be taken care of. They can get in the system. And, you know, most likely, they've been into an ER and listed no PCP available or, excuse me, primary care physician available. And we can make some phone calls to them to make sure that they're followed up on properly, that they don't get readmitted, that we can get them a good practitioner clinician that can help them and make sure they don't re-enter the system. And so that's one that's been pretty exciting for us right now. So we're always open to different and innovative ways to reach out to help the overall healthcare continuum and keep make society make society healthier. So that's just one example in the interest of time. I'll just give you that one.”

Simone Lavallee: “Let's talk about, do you think that a call center from us needs to replace a health systems internal call center? Or can we work with people just to build out special campaigns?”

Lance Mickelsen: “Yeah, no, our goal. Look, we don't want to we're not in the business of taking over enterprise call centers for big IDNs and health systems that have built those, and there are certain things that they do that we can't. But we do supplement really well and help a lot of the large IDNs out there who have enterprise call centers that might need some help here and there with certain types of calls. We prefer long term relationships versus project worth just work just because we can, as I mentioned earlier, get that domain knowledge. Understand how a Christus does business. Know the nomenclature of how they like to treat their patients and those different things. So we like to have some kind of a long-term relationship and then obviously we can scale up and down as the need arises for various different projects and campaigns. So no, we're not we're not out there trying to take every contact center seat in the United states, but from a healthcare perspective at all, we want to be a support and be able to help fill in those gaps and they're out there right now. You know, there's a shortage of folks who want to be in the contact center space, and so we're pretty busy right now talking to folks about being able to support them where they may not be able to fill those holes in their internal call center. So certainly open to those discussions.”

Simone Lavallee: “Oh, that's just wonderful. George, do you have anything else you'd like to add before we wrap up?”

George Avila: “I I'll just close with this, and I think it's a reminder for all of us, I think that there has been so much exasperation because we feel that we can't cure. And we're being faced with things that we can't cure. We haven't been able to cure some people with this virus. And we also, we're not going to be able to cure overnight that the compassion fatigue with our associates, it's something that we're going to have to work together on. And so just want to remind, even though you can't cure at times you can heal. And so I feel as healthcare organizations, we really need to look at that and be able to see you might be in this negative situation. But what actions are more taking to help you heal, heal you as an integral person, mind, body, and spirit? And I feel that if we have that as our lens, as we move forward, we will come out of this more resilient than ever. So let's remember that and I know we will make a difference.”

Simone Lavallee: “Really good place for us to conclude, Lance, do you have anything more you would like to add before I wrap up?”

Lance Mickelsen: “No well, said George. If I added anything to that, it would take away. That was well said. So I'm going to leave it that.”

Simone Lavallee: “Well, gentlemen, I have to say thank you so much for your time today, and unfortunately, we are out of time. I feel like we could keep talking about this for hours, but we don't have hours today, so we will be continuing this conversation on all of our social media platforms and keep an eye on our blogs. And we have some great future thought leaders coming up. So be sure to follow and subscribe to take part in these conversations once again. When you leave today's webinar, you will receive a follow up email within 48 hours with a link, and you can view a recording of today's discussion. And feel free to share that with people that you think might be interested in that you think could maybe learn something from what we've talked about today and on behalf of Stericycle Communication Solutions and our presenters, George, and Lance, thank you for being here, and I hope you have a fabulous rest of your day. Bye”

George Avila: “Thank you.”

Lance Mickelsen: “Thanks.”