Jamie often tells the story of the month in 1986 that he spent living in the Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Hospital in Detroit when his baby daughter, JR, was having up to 15 seizures a day. He is quick to credit the doctors and nurses for the excellent care they provided, but he remembers having an epiphany at 2 a.m., when adrenaline rushes and fear kept sleep away.
In June of 1985, JR had a 40-minute seizure after a DPT shot and incurred a permanent brain injury. Much of the “patient care” his daughter had received in the eight months since was delivered by the often “invisible” hospital workers — the lab technicians, the candy stripers, the environmental service workers, the kitchen staff, the nurses aides, the social workers. At 2 a.m., when he couldn’t find a diaper or something else he needed for JR, it was often the guy sweeping the hall or the woman cleaning the bathrooms that went out of their way to help him. They would bring what he needed to JR’s room, and then stay to chat with Jamie in a way that eased his mind for awhile.
Clearly this had a positive effect on Jamie and his family’s experience, but he remembers that these acts of service brought pleasure to the workers as well. And they happened every day. It is a beautiful example of job crafting, which is a relatively recent addition to the workplace vernacular. Although the term has been around for more than a decade, it appeared on our radar several times in the last several weeks. An article in Time magazine created a buzz in the blogosphere, including a couple by one of our favorite bloggers, CV Harquail on Authentic Organizations. She wrote about the phenomenon here and here. The latter post included the Pink Glove Dance video, which has been seen by more than 13,500 people in YouTube. When we saw the video, it reminded Jamie of his experience watching over JR so many years ago, and the people at the hospital who crafted their way into his heart.