How can hospital leaders help clinicians 'recapture the joy' of medicine?

The U.S. healthcare marketplace is facing a list of challenges that, on some days, might seem insurmountable. 

The overwhelm of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shortage of qualified workers and burnout and frustration of those still on the job can make it hard for workers to remember why they got into medicine in the first place. Recapturing that "why" could be a true game-changer for hospitals going forward.

As part of an initiative to give hospital leaders a platform to share opinions and advice on a variety of topics, Becker's spoke with Tom Wright, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Children's Mercy Kansas City in Missouri.

(If you would like to be featured in this Q&A series, please send an email to

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

Question: What is the biggest challenge facing hospital leaders today?

Tom Wright: Our biggest challenge is figuring out how to recapture the joy in healthcare. The change and ambiguity experienced over the past couple years has revealed the inspiring creativity of our people. At the same time, it has taken a toll on our resilience. How can we bring back joy in the workplace? How can we experience that same "why" that drew us to healthcare? 

I believe the answer rests in the cultures we create and nurture. It rests in our ability to ensure team members find meaning and purpose in their daily work; are engaged and valued; and trust that we, as leaders, will promote their well-being and ability to bring their best selves to work every day. Shaping culture IS NOT a campaign. It IS a commitment to bring our organizations' mission, vision and values to life every day, as we support our patients and their families and interact with each other. 

We have initiated a culture journey at Children's Mercy Kansas City in which we are exploring culture concepts designed to help us live out our values and guiding behaviors in a way that will have lasting impact on all team members. As leaders of organizations, we must be thoughtful and intentional in how we engage employees to be and perform their best. The shadow that we cast as leaders is the "X" factor in our culture journey.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars