“Our work will be a beacon — a beacon of hope to an otherwise hopeless industry.
We will be a shining signal that the best days are still ahead.
We will be an illumination of what is possible.”
— Selection from “A Personal Art” declaration, Sharp Memorial Hospital, 2009
It was 2009. Sharp Memorial Hospital was on the verge of opening a major expansion that would transform all notions of a traditional hospital stay. Alongside physical improvements — private rooms, warm color palettes, lots of natural light — came a promise to change the way patients were treated.
This pledge was already central to Sharp HealthCare’s philosophy of care, called The Sharp Experience. The opening of a new hospital offered an opportunity to further enhance staff’s dedication to these ideals. Hospital leaders penned a declaration called “A Personal Art,” outlining how Sharp Memorial would achieve this vision, and asked staff to affirm their commitment at a special ceremony before opening day.
Every year since, staff has been invited to renew this pledge through a Recommitment activity. Over the years, employees have reflected on their most rewarding moments as caregivers. They’ve watched videos of grateful patients healed at the hands of Sharp nurses and staff. They’ve made personal vows for how they would contribute to The Sharp Experience.
“Our annual Recommitment is a cornerstone event for us,” says Tim Smith, senior vice president and chief executive officer of Sharp Memorial Hospital. “It’s an opportunity for staff to pause, remember our promise to live The Sharp Experience and be inspired to continue doing so.”
The most recent challenge was a creative one. Departments were asked to craft a piece of art that represented how their team serves as a “beacon of hope” to patients and their loved ones — one of the commitments laid out in the 2009 declaration.
From paintings and sculptures to collages and poems, the teams did not disappoint. More than 50 masterpieces were displayed in the hospital lobby — housed inside a specially crafted lighthouse with its own rotating beacon light. Employees, doctors and hospital guests were invited to vote for their favorites in categories such as “Use of Skill” and “Expresses Meaningful Experiences.” More than 300 votes were cast.
Alongside the lighthouse were posters showcasing real-life stories of how staff inspired patients, including one man paralyzed in a 2014 motorcycle accident who swore he would return to the hospital to walk for his favorite nurse — and he did.
“Ours was all about the heart,” says Mary E. Miller, manager of Cardiac Rehabilitation and the Cushman Wellness Center, whose team’s sculpture of a palm holding an illuminated heart earned the award for “Creative Imagination.” “The heart is a vital part of our mission, vision and passion. We ask ourselves every day how we can connect to our patients with heart, how we can offer them hope for the future.”
To cap off the Recommitment activity, staff received a lighthouse charm to wear on their hospital badges — serving as a daily reminder of their promise to always be a beacon of hope.