Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
TTUHSC Community and COVID-19

TTUHSC Community and COVID-19

We can all join in saying a big thank you to our employer, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center for the way this coronavirus crisis is being handled. So many could be mentioned, but a shout out to Chancellor Tedd Mitchell, Dr. Lori Rice-Spearman and Dean Steven Berk.  We are indeed blessed.

As we listen to reports of new cases and deaths in our city and region—if your thoughts are like mine, two things come to mind: 1). A profound sadness for those who lost loved ones during this time due to the coronavirus, and 2) A sense of sincere gratitude to the “patient-facing” employees who are there each day greeting and attending to patients. These people are the heroes of the hour. And, this gratitude extents to frontline healthcare workers around the world—Italy and New York City come to mind.

Of course, many of us are working from home. Cabin fever is always a possibility. You may find yourself challenged to keep spirits and energy up while in quarantine. One way to deal with this is through sunlight, fresh air and social interaction.  
I didn’t think of it—but, I did jump on the bandwagon, I really wish instead of calling it “social distancing” we had used the term “physical distancing.”  We need to be socially connected through technology and/or by staying at least 6 feet apart from each other. (Some experts recommend even greater distance.)  I went to get our mail this week and had a nice conversation with a neighbor who was probably twenty feet away.  Small talk, but important.
Here are five thoughts and I just covered the first one in the last paragraph, namely:

Stay in touch
Be sure to connect daily with daily with team members through technology, preferably with the camera on to enhance social interaction. One of the groups I work with meets each workday morning at 8:30.  We cover business, for sure, but we also support each other in spoken and unspoken ways. With my direct reports (a different meeting) we start each one with a bit of an “emotional intelligence” exercise by asking, “How are you doing?”  And, we don’t accept “fine” as an answer.

Keep others informed
Communicate your workload and availability with colleagues, managers and schedulers. Your proactive outreach is appreciated. This relates to my next item.

We don’t see each other around the HSC, so let others know what you are doing and what you need for them to do. Communication is difficult under the best of circumstances.  Working at home makes it even tougher.  I have told our group to even go overboard on communication (in a polite way)--simply to make certain the other person “gets it.” Techniques such as, “OK, this is what I am understanding you to say” can be helpful.
Take Breaks
Be sure to take reasonable breaks. Have lunch with your family if they are there with you. Weather permitting, go out and take a walk or bike ride (while practicing social distancing, of course). Spring is not canceled! Taking a little breather is a great way to re-energize and finish the day strong. Lubbock has had some beautiful weather lately.
Attitude matters
Finally, and most importantly, stay positive and optimistic. This too shall pass. We can learn from this or we can let the blues overtake us.  I like what the Queen of England expressed as her wish for when the COVID-19 crisis is over, “I hope everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded.”