It’s Friday night in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Nearly 20,000 fans in blue, orange and white are on their feet in anticipation as the lights lower and riffs from AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” electrify the arena. Flashes of lightning cross the 35-foot-wide scoreboard to reveal photos of strong, proud and united Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball players while applause and screams fill the air for the team that brought a city together.
This is the energizing experience fans have come to expect in the Thunderdome, and although the Thunder experience can’t be replicated, it’s a result of consistency in how fans are treated and what they see, hear and feel.
“Obviously, our patients and their loved ones are going to feel a little differently than they might at a Thunder game,” said Becky Payton, regional vice president of human resources for Mercy in Oklahoma. “But, we can still provide an experience of familiarity by being consistent in our work. People feel better when they know what to expect. When they come into our hospital or our clinics, we want them to feel comforted, calm, secure and confident in the Mercy co-workers taking care of them.”
That’s why for the last few years, in the middle of tremendous growth for Mercy, the Mercy Experience Team – a group of Mercy co-workers who coordinate advisory groups, one-on-one interviews and other research so Mercy decisions are made with the voice of the patient, the co-worker and the community member in mind – has been devoted to researching then creating environments, processes and a culture that make Mercy patients feel more comfortable, whether they’re in El Reno, Marietta, Ardmore or Oklahoma City.
Their research has impacted the design of Mercy buildings, the support classes offered, the processes followed and the commercials aired. And now, the uniforms co-workers wear.
“This isn’t a decision that was taken lightly or made quickly,” said Payton. “Our team has been committed to developing an apparel program for years, and we’ve been listening to what co-workers and patients want the whole time.”
One of the ways they’ve listened was via Baggot Street, Mercy’s intranet (named for the street the original House of Mercy was established on in Dublin, Ireland). Co-workers from across all four states Mercy serves gave input on the kinds of pockets, clasps, colors, fabrics and styles they preferred in work apparel.
After months of studies, photo shoots, presentations and start-overs, Mercy chose scrubs with a base color of black, accented by vibrant colors of the new Mercy logo which each co-worker chooses for him or herself.
In one focus group, a co-worker said, “I’m one of those people who wants to express who I am, and I could do that with this collection.”
To get all existing Mercy co-workers suited up and ready for this new look, Mercy provided an allowance to get their uniform wardrobe established. Additional sets of scrubs will be purchased by co-workers, just as non-uniform scrubs are currently purchased. The Mercy scrubs, known internally as “M-Wear” will be available for purchase at 25 percent less than retail prices for the same brand scrubs.
Like the Thunder, Mercy co-workers are a team. Uniforms display the strength, pride, solidarity and equality among our co-workers. The focus, as it always has been, is on the patient.
Mercy co-workers say the scrubs are comfortable, have lots of pockets for the various tools they use throughout the day, and give a unified appearance.
“They’re super comfy,” said Catti Willenborg, CNA, who has worked at Mercy for two years. “We look professional, and that’s important to co-workers.”
Oklahoma co-workers are the first of Mercy’s 38,000 co-workers to launch M-Wear. After April 3, each clinic and hospital in the state will incorporate the uniforms, followed by co-workers in Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri in the coming months.
Mercy is organizing a used scrubs donation program, so co-workers have an easy and philanthropic option for their gently used threads. Donated scrubs will be shipped to a group of hospitals in Rwanda, which Mercy partners with on several programs, including a health care system analysis scheduled for this summer. During that analysis, approximately 30 Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City co-workers will travel to Rwanda to learn about the country’s current system, and see how Mercy’s experience can help them, and vice versa.
Mercy co-workers got in on the paparazzi fun today, submitting photos of themselves in M-Wear at various locations across Oklahoma. To see some of those photos, click here.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 32 hospitals, 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,900 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.