CC 7 Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine - Outstanding Achievement Award

Our Outstanding Achievement Award goes to the Nursing and Medical Support Services of Charité Center CC7, in recognition of their exemplary commitment to finding individualized solutions which go well beyond existing structures and processes. The award also recognizes the exemplary communication of available options by management, and their absolute determination to finding family-friendly solutions.

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  • CC 7 Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Professional services/areas: Nursing and Medical Support Services
  • Center Nursing Manager: Evelyn Starkiewicz

What convinced the judges?

“Every work meeting includes a discussion of the topic (balancing work and family life) in relation to the individual's specific situation.”

 

 

  • Senior staff show clear willingness and commitment to finding family-friendly solutions
  • All types of family-related challenges are accommodated using creative and individualized solutions
  • Use of knowledge and experience
  • When shifts are reduced, lists of duties are amended
  • Introduction of project-based work that allows working from home
  • Comprehensive range of working time arrangements
  • Life-phase oriented working time arrangements
  • Parent volunteer services
  • Job-sharing, including for senior staff
  • Float pool

An interview with Evelyn Starkiewicz, Center Nursing Manager CC/

The Office of Family Affairs: When talking about the concept of family-friendly employers, how would you define the term 'family-friendly'? And, in your opinion, what renders a company or a department family-friendly?

E. Starkiewicz: For family-friendly arrangements to work, one must look at the issues from both sides of the argument. That means looking at the interests of the member of staff involved, while also remembering to consider the interests of the organization.

This requires good communication and flexibility, both from members of staff and their managers. Both sides have to pull in the same direction and both have to be guided by a culture of give and take. Only then will it be possible to find individualized solutions, such as a new set of responsibilities for a member of staff who is prevented for personal reasons from doing shift work.

A family-friendly approach to managing staff is not just limited to members of staff with children, but also includes single people with specific needs or responsibilities, which require them to organize their lives in a specific way. 'Family' includes parents and other relatives. This must be taken into consideration and must be given the attention and status it deserves.

The Office of Family Affairs: As a senior member of staff, where do you see opportunities for action in support of a more family-friendly environment at work?

E. Starkiewicz: For us to be in a position to take action, we need members of staff to communicate with us and tell us if and where there are problems. We can then sit down with the member of staff to discuss their specific needs, what we can offer in terms of support, and what can be done to support them within their specific area of work.

Both collegiality and solidarity are key to achieving a family-friendly work environment, and they determine the scope of options available to line managers and senior management. For instance, the caring responsibilities of a member of staff may be reduced as his/her children get older. He/she may then relinquish their entitlement once the children need less of their time and care. If the member of staff informs their line manager or senior management of their change in circumstance, the care time entitlement can then be used to benefit a different member of staff. Should it be impossible to find a suitable solution within the member of staff's area of responsibility, every effort should be made to find alternative solutions, e.g. by adjusting their duties and responsibilities, or by moving them to a different section.

For the senior management team of CC7, the willingness to accommodate the needs of our staff is as imperative as it is natural. The same goes for our willingness to support our staff in finding a healthy work-life balance through individualized solutions that work within their area or section. We are happy to utilize the support offered by the Office of Family Affairs, and ensure that our members of staff are aware of the services available.

The Office of Family Affairs: At this point, we would like to take a look into the future. What are the ideas, measures, and projects in place to promote and support a family-friendly environment at work?

E. Starkiewicz: Future measures and projects will be largely determined by staff needs. Currently, we are offering whatever we are able to give, such as the option of reducing shifts, starting work later, part-time working, and reducing working hours for staff who are also students down to 25% or even 15%. Naturally, what is possible depends on what can be absorbed by the relevant member of staff's section and other members of staff. What we do not currently have in nursing is the option of taking a sabbatical or banking time. This would be a useful step in helping us make things even more flexible. We are trying to focus on the needs of our staff by supporting them in their careers as well as family-related matters (caring for children, but also increasingly caring for parents and grandparents). This is only possible if all parties involved show some degree of flexibility.

The Office of Family Affairs: How will you use the prize money and what ideas are you hoping to implement?

E. Starkiewicz: One option would be to use part of the money to support the INA-Kindergarten facility on Campus Virchow Klinikum, and use some more to help fund a party for staff and/or children. Another option would be to use part of the money to support certain projects or sections which are particularly active in implementing family-friendly measures.

This interview was conducted by Doreen Makowiak and Arlette Schwanke.