As we coast into Fall, we are entering the holiday season. Sometimes, the glitz and glam of it all can overpower the meaning behind some of the holidays.

Here at Ceca Foundation, we just celebrated World Gratitude Day (September 21) and, of course, are looking forward to Thanksgiving this year as another opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to those around us. It is, after all, the core mission of Ceca Foundation—to recognize and thank exceptional caregivers.

But between those holidays, there are several others that we want to point out that are important to our work in the healthcare industry. In October, these are relevant healthcare holidays:

  • 10/2-10/8: Mental Illness Awareness Week
  • 10/2-10/8: Healthcare Foodservice Workers Week
  • 10/3-10/7: Pediatric Nurses Week
  • 10/6-10/12: Physician Assistants Week
  • 10/9-10/15: Healthcare Security and Safety Week
  • 10/11-10/17: Emergency Nurses Week
  • 10/16-10/22: National Healthcare Quality Week
  • 10/17-10/21: Medical Assistants Recognition Week
  • 10/23-10/29: Health Care Facilities and Engineering Week

Of course, there are other healthcare holidays throughout the year that are important to our work—National Doctor’s Day, National Nursing Assistants Week, Patient Experience Week—but we wanted to take a moment to build some awareness about some of these lesser-known holidays in October.

As much as recognition is core to what the Ceca Award is about, there is another important distinction about the caregivers that we honor. Not only does the Ceca Award platform allow for 360-degree recognition—from managers, peers, direct reports, and patients/guests/family—we also consider ALL team members within a healthcare facility to be “caregivers.” That means both clinical and non-clinical roles are recognized, such as receptionists, maintenance, food service, janitorial, and more—EVEN if they are vendors or contractors.

We have learned an important lesson over the years: Every person that works at your healthcare community has the ability to impact the patient experience.

This nomination says it all and is a shining example of cross-department teamwork:

“In the course of working with a recent patient, Daniel’s team was contacted to help with some brainstorming ideas. This specific patient came to rehab from a similar professional background and myself and my colleague were wanting to make sure his integration back to work was solid before discharging him. Daniel was already working numerous hours of overtime for his own job, yet he still took the time to help us out in ours and went ABOVE and BEYOND anything we could have EVER thought or imagined. Not only did he single-handedly come up with a plan for us, he provided us with mock activities (with answers – so we would know the patient was correct), the equipment in order to provide hands-on activity for the patient, and was completely enthusiastic about it the entire time we discussed this. He even made sure we understood what each thing was for prior to us introducing it to the patient in therapy by taking the time to reach out through our messaging system. We all have a role to play in the treatment of our patients and sometimes paths cross you never would have imagined. I feel like Daniel personified what teamwork is supposed to look like in the help he provided us – all for the betterment of our patient. Thank you, Daniel!!! You ROCK!!!”

We set out to design a program that is comprehensive and encourages recognition across all departments, teams, job functions and more. We strongly believe that all employees have a fundamental need for appreciation and that to reach their full potential, feeling a sense of belonging is critical for your workers. A sense of belonging increases the engagement of your team, which in turn can increase employee retention and ultimately positively impact the patience experience. And at the end of the day, hearing your patients, residents, or clients say that they had a great experience in your healthcare community is like music to the ears.

If something as genuine as thanking a caregiver for an exceptional act of care can have such a lasting impact, we should prioritize it all year-round.

At Ceca, we believe there’s room to recognize and thank caregivers every day, but it might just be the perfect time to ensuring you’re recognizing some of the less recognized roles, departments and team members that keep our healthcare communities functioning and impact the patient experience.