[Photo Credit: Bruce Powell] 

May 29, 2024

The Whole Care Experience Unites Workforce Behind Mission

Mariann Kerley, RN, and Derek Cazeau, team members at UChicago Medicine AdventHealth, recently participated in The Whole Care Experience (TWCE), an interactive learning journey aimed at uniting UChicago Medicine AdventHealth team members under a shared mission, vision, values and service standards and creating a foundation for delivering compassionate care. 

Following the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kerley, a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation nurse at UChicago Medicine AdventHealth La Grange and Hinsdale, and Cazeau, executive director of hospital services at UChicago Medicine AdventHealth GlenOaks, were eager to see how the experience would reinforce the organization’s mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ. They approached the experience with open minds, ready to explore its potential to enhance the culture at their hospitals. 

The program was “extraordinary,” Kerley said, remembering the experience as a “spiritual awakening” that reaffirmed her role as a champion of the mission. Cazeau was also impressed by TWCE’s depth, noting that it wasn’t just another “flavor-of-the-month” training but a sustainable initiative that would require ongoing dedication. 


Reigniting the “Sacred Flame” 

Coming on the heels of several challenging years, The Whole Care Experience sessions gave team members a much-needed opportunity to unplug from work and to reconnect with AdventHealth’s faith-based roots and culture. Every team member participated in the immersive four-hour experience, while leaders, such as Cazeau, and TWCE facilitators (trainers), such as Kerley, received an additional four hours of in-depth training. 

“The introspective and interactive experience afforded me opportunities to dig more deeply into my mind, heart and soul and to re-examine the purpose of my ministerial and clinical work,” she said, remembering spiritual retreats she has experienced. “I felt rejuvenated, and I felt shaken in the best way possible. It was very moving.” 

Kerley said the stress, fear and uncertainty she and many other health professionals felt during the pandemic had caused many people to burn out. “TWCE has brought us back to the table and helped us to unify,” she said. “It has been invaluable because it has reignited the sacred flame that unites us all. We truly believe in our mission and want to invest in ensuring that all our team members are working together with the same vision moving forward.” 

[Photo Credit: Bruce Powell] 
[Photo Credit: Bruce Powell] 

Acting with A “Servant Heart”  

Cazeau felt TWCE offered an opportunity for personal growth for him and his team members, which was especially meaningful after the challenges of recent years. “It was doing something to strengthen — and in some instances to heal — our team members,” he said. 

TWCE’s interactive nature sets it apart from other cultural training programs, said Cazeau, who participated in the experience with other leaders. “It allowed us to talk freely and learn about each other’s leadership styles and how everyone interacts with their teams. It was very fulfilling.” 

The experience reminded him that everyone’s approach to everyday interactions can shape a culture. “My interactions will make a difference to others at work, so I have to be mindful of how I’m presenting myself and put my best foot forward,” he said. “It’s all about the big picture of taking care of our patients and their family members. We all must come together to ensure we’re building a culture that can really make a difference.” 

To do so, TWCE emphasizes the importance of always remembering AdventHealth’s service standards — Love Me, Make It Easy, Own It and Keep Me Safe — and approaching all interactions with a “servant heart,” just as Jesus did when He washed His disciples’ feet. “It has reminded me not only to be the face of Jesus, but to see the face of Jesus in others,” Kerley said. 

That means “always being there for others,” with a willingness to take on any task, big or small, for them, she said. It also means getting to know and love colleagues, building trusting relationships with them, and “identifying things we can do to ensure we’re all moving in the same direction as a team,” Cazeau said. 

[Photo Credit: Bruce Powell] 
[Photo Credit: Bruce Powell] 

Serving As a Role Model 

Since participating in TWCE, Kerley and Cazeau both have taken steps to ensure they’re consistently approaching their work with a servant heart. 

Kerley said she is committed to sit with patients and talk with them about their lives and concerns. “I try to provide a reassuring, nurturing and healing presence,” she said. After discussing their clinical plan of care, she asks whether they have any emotional or spiritual needs. 

Cazeau picks one service standard to focus on each day and seeks to apply it during interactions with team members and others. “To grow the culture, you have to work at it,” he said. “You have to be a role model so other people understand this is really important.”  

Like all AdventHealth team members, Kerley and Cazeau both proudly wear a heart-shaped identification badge. During the TWCE training each team member receives a badge as a reminder of the experience and a visual representation of their commitment to the mission, vision, values and service standards of the organization. The badge includes the phrase, “I care for you like I care for ...,” followed by a blank space that team members fill in with the names of people they love. Kerley added the names of her deceased parents, and Cazeau added the names of his three children. 

“It means, ‘I care for you like I would care for my parents,’” Kerley said. “It shows I’m committed to delivering an exceptional experience to every person every time.” Cazeau added, “When you bring that feeling — that true, authentic ‘I care because I’m here to serve you’ — that resonates. Patients will see that. They will feel it. They’ll feel that love.” 

Kerley and Cazeau shared they are glad they work for an organization willing to invest significant time and resources into building culture. “To be in an organization that feeds not only our professional development, but also our souls — that’s ideal,” Kerley said. She and Cazeau believe TWCE will differentiate UChicago Medicine AdventHealth in Chicago’s highly competitive health care marketplace. “With everyone’s commitment, we can get better and grow from here,” Cazeau said. “It’s going to take us to new heights.” 

Julie Busch is associate vice president of marketing and communications at UChicago Medicine AdventHealth.