Evolutions in the health care sector are having a powerful impact on home nursing care, which is the core activity of Wit-Gele Kruis. For example, there’s the tight job market. Wit-Gele Kruis is an organisation with over 7,000 employees, so there are always hundreds of job openings. In addition, hospital stays are being cut shorter and shorter, resulting in an increased need for (and expense of) home care. Piet Vanthemsche, president of Wit-Gele Kruis: “This creates a great need for flexibility. Every morning and evening we have a peak because it’s at those moments that the patients wish to receive care.” Another important shift is that we are all having to work longer. “Nurses and patient care assistants have a very physically demanding job; the question is, how do we keep the work workable?”
Support base central throughout the process
Wit-Gele Kruis and TomorrowLab dived into these evolutions together and went looking for solutions. Not from an ivory tower, but via a participatory process where great attention is devoted to the support base. TomorrowLab helped set it up. One began by putting together a steering committee, then followed by doing intake interviews with the Board of Directors, the executive committee, the various regional non-profit associations, the trade unions, nurses … This produced a good picture of the functioning of Wit-Gele Kruis and its challenges. After a number of thematic workshops, a roundtable was organised to which experts from other sectors were invited. The icing on the cake was the project day in which 150 employees of Wit-Gele Kruis were involved. Reflecting about the future, workable and agile work… everything was addressed. The result? An enthusiastic and even closer team. Vanthemsche affirms: "It created greater unity within the team. But the workshops where employees from different regions and specialisations exchanged experiences were highly appreciated as well."
We really made progress on building a collective identity.
On the agenda: workable and agile work
One of the things that emerged from the exercise was workable and agile work. For example, Wit-Gele Kruis wants to relieve its nurses of tasks that actually have nothing to do with the core of their job. “For example, we want to make patients self-caring wherever possible, and we’re looking for technical support that can make life easier for our staff.” Things like the tablets with which the patient files can be electronically monitored. But innovation also finds other forms of expression. “For example, there’s the ‘school bell contract’, under which people with schoolgoing children work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.” Vanthemsche finds it important that there be enough room within the organisation for strategic exercises such as those they set up together with TomorrowLab. "I´ve already worked in many places, and it’s been said that I want to change the governance wherever I go. I find that makes sense: I´m no specialist in health care, but as director I see it as my task to do high horizon scanning, so that Wit-Gele Kruis is ready for the future.”
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