Using Mission Assessments to Enhance Formation Programs
Most Catholic Healthcare systems conduct periodic assessments of how well they are living their mission. These assessments may emphasize adherence to the systems’ values as indicated by a set of organizational metrics. They may also include an analysis of associate feedback compared to the aspirations put forward in the ministry’s mission statement. And, they may be conducted in-house or with the collaboration of an external agency. These assessments can provide a vital source of diagnostic information for Catholic Healthcare leadership teams and especially Mission leaders, regarding how to refine their formation programs.
One Catholic Healthcare system determined from its mission assessments that many of its patients did not experience the care they received as holistic. This caused the system to first define what “holistic care” means from a patients perspective and then to create an extensive training and formation program for care-givers addressing how to better integrate the physical, emotional, spiritual and social elements of care. Patient satisfaction scores were closely tracked to determine the impact of this formation program. The system was also able to correlate the level of their care-givers engagement in the mission of the organization with the patients’ perception of a caring attitude on the part of the care-givers.
A mission assessment within another system resulted in a hospital receiving feedback that its physicians were not in strong alignment with the ministry goals of the hospital. The hospital’s mission leader took this feedback onboard and collaborated with the Ashley-O’Rourke team to design a formational experience for its physicians. The formation included reflections on the nature of the healing ministry and the sense of purpose and commitment that the physicians experienced. Feedback from the participants was favorable and the ministry will be essential to the next cycle of assessment to determine if the experience is having a lasting organizational impact.
Degree and certificate programs facilitated by the Ashley-O’Rourke Center of the Aquinas Institute of Theology are designed to strengthen Healthcare Ministry leaders’ ability not only to assess how well their organizations are achieving their mission, but also to help form other leaders to that end. Theology of the healing ministry is presented in the context of organizational implementation as well as personal application, and facilitates the process of alignment between organizational values, employees’ behaviors, and patient experiences.