Episode 2: Finding Joy in Healthcare

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In this episode, “Finding Joy in Healthcare,” we delve into the importance of cultivating joy and fulfillment in our healthcare careers. Join host Lillian Liang Emlet, CEO of Transforming Healthcare Coaching, along with our expert coaches Klaus Grim and Amy Bubser, as they share insights, personal experiences, and practical strategies to bring more joy into your life and work.

From emergency rooms to ICU settings, our panelists discuss how to find moments of connection, celebrate wins, and foster a positive work environment. Discover the power of self-care, the importance of authentic connections with colleagues and patients, and practical tips to shift your mindset towards joy and fulfillment.

Whether you’re a clinician, nurse, or healthcare leader, this episode offers valuable guidance to help you unlock your full potential and become the best version of yourself, both personally and professionally. Don’t miss out on this inspiring conversation that aims to transform healthcare, one person at a time.

Lillian: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Transforming Healthcare Coaching podcast, where we bring you guidance and coaching perspectives so that you can level up in your life and work.
Thanks, everyone, for coming to Cultivating Joy in Healthcare, part of our usual series.
My name is Lillian Liang Emlet, I’m the founder and CEO of Transforming Healthcare Coaching. And we have coaches from many disciplines that are all trained in energy leadership coaching, that are able to help clinicians in healthcare with a wide variety of niche specializations. Some of us specialize in well being or performance or transitions or executive leadership coaching, and all of us either are currently still working in healthcare or have worked in healthcare previously. With our coaches that we understand where you’re going through day in day out. And for those of you who are division chiefs or department chairs or system leaders, we also have group and team coaching by private arrangement as well. [00:01:00] So I’m going to go ahead and introduce our speakers. I’m going to let Klaus Grim introduce himself next.
Klaus Grim: Hi, everybody. Thank you Lilly. I’m, like Lilly said, I’m Klaus Grim, and I’m really excited to be here with all of you today.
Just a little background on me. So for the past five years, I’ve been working as an emergency medicine and urgent care physician assistant in the Boston area. Alongside my clinical practice, I’ve also had the beautiful privilege of serving as a lead preceptor for the Tufts University School of Medicine PA students and it’s been quite an honor helping guide the next generation of healthcare professionals.
I also believe in the power of continuous learning and finding harmony between our personal and professional lives. As we all know, as healthcare workers, we carry immense responsibilities and it’s essential to care for ourselves along the way. So during challenging times, I partnered myself with a coach and it became my guiding light.
And coaching allowed me to focus my energy on what truly mattered to me and reignite my life goals. So my purpose now is really just to extend this opportunity to my fellow healthcare workers. I’m really committed here now to empower my [00:02:00] clients to unlock their full potential and become the best versions of themselves, both personally and professionally.
Thanks Lilly.
Lillian: Thanks, Klaus. And then I’ll turn it over to Amy to introduce herself. And then I think she’s going to kick off our conversation.
Amy: Great. Thank you, Lilly. It’s nice to be here and have people joining our talk. My name is Amy Bubser. I am a reinvention and transition expert. I practiced as a body mind therapist for 15 years, then an ultrasound technologist for 8 in New York City and also through the onset of COVID. I was acutely aware of the uncertainty in people’s day to day lives and the stress that caused. Balancing self care and caregiving are crucial to sustain our careers and the health care system itself. I have successfully thrived and managed many transitions in my life and now I really want to help others that are on uncertain footing do the same. I work with people reinventing their career paths and their lives [00:03:00] when they have a loud message saying that something must change. With that said, we will begin our panel discussion on cultivating joy in health care.
Like the other panelists, I am so committed to helping people get back at the steering wheel in their careers and lives. And amongst my tool sets as a coach, I like to use fun and connection to find the way. And sometimes just a simple shift, and once it’s recognized, is all it takes to make a huge improvement in one’s life and workspace.
So just to jump right into this panel discussion, and then we’re going to be sharing throughout the call, Klaus and Lilly, can you relate to this idea of finding joy or fun at work and how that would make a difference?
Klaus Grim: Many people don’t associate fun in healthcare and I think a lot of us can connect with this thought that, you go to work, you’re there to save lives and, [00:04:00] provide the best patient care possible, whatever field you’re in.
But that notion of enjoying the work you do. I think it dissipates pretty quickly once you’ve really been in the field for a long time, and you’re seeing the fragility of this healthcare system when you start to get really upset with things that are going on. For a while, it was a notion that wasn’t too familiar with me and , I think being coached myself has really sparked that light again and saying, hey, I don’t have to save the fun when I come home. I can actually have it at work too. What do you think Lilly?
Lillian: Yeah, and just thinking about when you pose that question, Amy, I just think about, you being in emergency medicine Klaus.
I think EM is so fun. Sometimes in the ICU, things are much more serious or somber or grumpy or negative and it’s sometimes harder to see the fun every day. I remember my emergency medicine shifts. It’s always who’s my crew today and what, what smiles you’re going to bring to the table because there’s actually a lot of good things that come out, in [00:05:00] any particular random shift as compared to the differences of how things are in the ICU.
I think you bring up a really good point Klaus about the fact that if you look for it, it’s there and until you pose the question, Amy, I didn’t really realize if I don’t look for the fun in the ICU, then it won’t necessarily be there. I find it in in my emergency medicine shifts pretty easily.
I’m always excited to see okay, what’s going to come my way this shift, but, and that everyone’s there to get through that shift together is a lot of teamwork and camaraderie with all of our nurses and techs in the trauma bay and in, in our departments in the ICU.
Sometimes it’s, it’s like it has a steady hum, right? It’s a different sort of routine. So unless you look for it, it’s not there. So for me, it’s really just been saying hi to my colleagues, really getting a chance to actually slow down and hang out together during the shift. Whether that be in the emergency department or in the ICU.
Klaus Grim: I think one of the things, I don’t really think of fun when I think of work, right? And one of the fun aspects of work [00:06:00] actually is actually consulting the ICU. So oftentimes I have to consult the ICU about a patient I have to bring in.
And I don’t know if we just vibe the emergency medicine and ICU very well, but I truly have a great time talking with a lot of the ICU providers. Oftentimes when the hospitalist declines the case. But anyway, I just wanted to throw that in. Amy, I’m curious what kind of ways do you have fun?
Amy: Oh yeah, and what’s interesting too, because obviously healthcare can be very serious and very real, right? That you can’t that word fun is almost sacrilegious. But also fun can mean different things and. I had a client once and we really tried to break it down and it’s also what fun is in that environment too.
And his fun was having math, doing math problems. So again, fun can look different ways. It doesn’t mean you’re actually having a party in the ICU, but Klaus, to your point, it’s the connections. I really believe the connections with the people with our colleagues, like you said, you really enjoy the conversations with them.[00:07:00]
And not only is it good for you when you’re connecting and also, as we know, in healthcare, sometimes the craziest things happen and you can’t make this stuff up and out of that there is a shared, it’s like being in the trenches together. And it doesn’t mean that you’re laughing and yelling and going down the hallway, but there are these moments of connections and bonding.
And with the patients, too. I always found myself, I also enjoyed the patients once I really connected with them. And obviously being there to connect with them and have my skillset and, support them during a stressful time. But sometimes just really connecting with someone, and it doesn’t have to be a long conversation, but just getting someone in the moment can be really enjoyable for everyone. Does that feedback to you anymore from what I meant about fun?
Lillian: Yeah, it’s funny you say this. I was just thinking about my last patient. I was the patient obviously post call and I went to go get some routine testing done [00:08:00] and it really means a lot whenever the, from the front desk person who checks you in to the person who starts your IV and you have this whole conversation about what’s it like to be an employee in the same healthcare system and, and who you choose and what you do to, to get through your shift and how the day is going.
You can see it in just those little conversations, even when you’re, when I’m the patient, and if you can, you clearly have a joyous person in front of you who’s happy to be there to put my IV in, I’m grateful for it. And actually it’s those small encounters that really make, mean a lot, both ways.
Klaus Grim: When we’re speaking about the patients, obviously this is what we joined healthcare for is to helping our patients in the best possible ways. And one thing I was just thinking about too is ways that you know, we can have fun with patients even and with your colleagues is really celebrating wins I think about you know all the times in the emergency room that you can’t come up with a diagnosis for some people but the times that you can you come up with a diagnosis or you cure somebody’s pain [00:09:00] or you make somebody an outpatient appointment with a specialist, right?
These are wins that I think if you celebrate, I think you can really bring some more joy and fun in work when you do these things for patients.
Amy: Yeah, and I like, I think it was Lilly said, like having the intention to have that connection or to, to what, whatever it is that sparks your purpose and your sense of being fulfilled in your work.
And as we know, the healthcare system has its challenges and one of our goals in our group is to really help change really the system has to change. So it’s not just on each and every one of us. to fix every problem, but we can be responsible for how we show up and how we make an intention even before we get to work, how are we taking care of ourselves so that we’re in a mindset to start our day or to get there a little early, say hello to our coworkers.
And I remember during Covid and I was in New York City, and, all of a sudden we’re wearing masks. And I worked in a place that was like a [00:10:00] family. And we started like walking past each other in the hallways and instead of smiling because now all of a sudden we’re covered up, right?
We have masks, we have gowns, we have all these things on. We would start to just lift our eyebrows when we looked at each other to try and make some connection. Like you usually say, good morning, hello, or you smile, right? So that started to go away because we didn’t, we couldn’t see each other. So even the instinct to smile wasn’t there.
And then I remember months and months later, I looked in the mirror at home and my face looked different and I didn’t like the way it looked. And I realized I’m not smiling anymore. It was really profound. I was like, what is happening to me? So of course I was still wearing my mask at work. So I made an intention to connect anyway. So when the patient would come in the room, I really made a point to look them in the eyes and they were afraid they were going through what they were going through and they lit up. [00:11:00] And so now we have this new connection just from the get go. Even if it was serious, we made a connection and I could see both of us light up.
And like I said at the beginning, sometimes it’s just one small thing that you can do that can really shift your energy. And then it affects the people around you. Does that resonate with you?
Klaus Grim: I love that, Amy, simple things that we can do that make such a positive outcome to the people around us, especially people who are in pain that you’re obviously working with.
Thank you for sharing that.
Lillian: I also want to point out that, our brain is trained to hunt down negative threats and get rid of them, right?
It’s to keep us safe. And when we focus our brain instead to be a strong muscle to find joy, to find connection, to find the good things, you’ll be surprised you can see them, right? So you probably have already all heard this kind of cognitive technique or trick where they say, try to focus on, I don’t know, a red car.
So I’m forcing for those of you who are [00:12:00] driving or about to commute later on today, you will now look for red cars because I have now primed your brain to start looking for red cars. And it’s always surprising how they end up coming on. Now, part of the people could say this, is it Alexa and AI listening to you?
Maybe. It’s actually your brain now being trained to look for things. And so the question I suppose I pose, we pose to you is, If you could cultivate more joy in your workplace, what things would you want to enjoy more of work? Amy gave a great example of just eye connection or facial expressions.
What things bring you joy that you could be on the hunt for to look for, they’re there in your team. You just don’t notice them. You’re not paying attention to them
Klaus Grim: I think, really setting your intention, setting your near future ahead. I think about really, we have a lot of humor in the emergency room and just recognizing that humor is there. And I think that’s something that I can continue to recognize myself [00:13:00] and bring about in that department because I know that it really, fosters such a more joyful environment.
Amy: That’s great. Thank you for sharing that. That’s really so important. And that’s what I also mean by the definition of joy or the definition of fun. I love working. I love connecting with people. And even if it’s hearing like this heartfelt story of what they’re going through, that actually adds to my fulfillment to be able to be there for them and listen to them.
And on that note, I know we’re talking about things that bring joy and we love having our teams and our colleagues and the way we interact, but what do you do when your colleagues don’t just don’t seem to be having joy or if they’re having a rough time or a rough day, because that could be part of the puzzle too
Klaus Grim:
I think that’s a very common thing that I see. And I’m sure Lilly, you could probably comment on that as well. We’re, we constantly work with different people every day we’re shift work here and, there’s sometimes in the ER, there’s a high turnaround and I [00:14:00] find that most of the reasons that they’re not finding joy actually are external factors, things that are happening in their actual everyday lives.
And it just got me thinking here, that just reminds me that, cultivating joy at work means you have to cultivate joy at home too. So the importance of self care, I think is ringing my head here that, if you’re not caring for yourself outside of work you’re letting work follow you home and the stresses of, our healthcare system or politics or whatever it may be weighs on you at home.
It’s going to weigh at you at work. And I think that’s something I see quite frequently. And a lot of the things I work with my clients on is the work following them home and home following them at work and how to be joyful in both aspects. I’m curious what you think, Lilly.
Lillian: Really just coming alongside someone and listen to your peers and your colleagues. We’re all going through something, right?
The reality is we’re all going through a physical or a mental [00:15:00] or energy transition. We have other things we’re all trying to juggle. And just having just allowing someone to have a voice and hear it really unburdens things, and I think, all of us know as coaches that’s why we went into this profession, because that has now become our professional job to actually listen and allow the client to actually hear themselves, and because when you say something for the very first time, there’s so much power in it, And some of us are also just verbal processors.
We actually think out loud best as we’re explaining something and then we realize I have the solution, actually. But in general, I think that’s the same thing that happens whenever we notice that people are unwell. All of us have been unwell at any given point before the pandemic. And actually after, as we’ve tried to transition to this much more complicated work life place it’s really just allowing people to be their authentic wholeselves, and it’s okay to talk about what we mostly like to bottle up like our personal lives or our culture or our perspectives. It’s really hard to [00:16:00] find authentic workplaces and authentic bosses that are allowing you to actually be included. We have diverse work environments.
That’s a given for most of us. And healthcare is the question is do we actually feel included. And so I think it’s really about just coming alongside someone making sure that they know it’s safe, and that doesn’t go anywhere, and that you’re just able just to be there and see them as a whole person.
Klaus Grim: Just listening to somebody else at the workforce is a powerful tool.
Amy: We open this up by how do we help our coworkers and, we’re all natural without generalizing.
Most of us are natural caregivers and wanting to help and finding it harder, it’s that thing with the system, like when it’s just too stressful, it’s very hard to bring that out more because we’re in more survival and that sense of self care, like you mentioned, Klaus, what can we do to help make things better and make ourselves not so drained and then also finding your fun magnets or [00:17:00] your joy magnets, people at work, you don’t have to be best friends, but you are a team and there are people that when you hang out with them or talk to them, it doesn’t instill that the purpose of lightening your load and having joy and connecting with someone.
And so whether it’s now going out for a walk, connecting in the break room or I don’t know if people are starting to recover from the Covid social behaviors of going out after work and grabbing a drink or having a chat or I know. I don’t want to generalize that that’s not happening, but I know a lot of people got used to this way of living and are forgetting they can still go out and connect or have that group a birthday party, or, have a party at work and have everyone bring in food. And you maybe can’t all be there at the same time, but it creates that opportunity or intention to connect.
And I have found with myself and also with the people I work with, it just helps create that foundation that belonging that ongoing over time. [00:18:00] You have this connection with people. And yes, you’re all skilled. You’re experts. You have your your job to do and you do it. And then there’s this other aspect of connecting and having your purpose filled and moving along. So it’s really I know we talked about intention and looking for that red car or but then noticing a blue car that actually looks pretty good too, having your brain start to look for opportunities. So with that, I’m wondering if anyone out of this conversation might see an opportunity or something they could do different or try something new.
Lillian: I love that call to commitment. Last portion, Amy, because it is true. How can we all be a better joy magnet at work? That’s a hard one, right? How do we become the joy magnet at work?
Amy: Or there’s someone that helps bring that out in you and you search them out. Because it’s not always us having to be the bright light, right? We want to help [00:19:00] others and others help us too.
Lillian: Yeah, I think Amy, when we put together this topic for consideration for me, I think we had talked, it’s just about me making sure I spend the time to actually start hanging out again on my evening rounds when I work. We do evening rounds in the ICU and it always been just business for the last three years.
We’re all just too busy. It’s been nice to be able to actually just relax and relax, at the nurses station. That’s, I think, where my joy is.
Klaus Grim: I think for me now it’s, I think the joy for me has always been there. I genuinely connect and love working with my colleagues, but I think the opportunity for growth here for me that’s came about from this is, maybe narrowing a little bit on those people that need help that those negative thoughts that keep coming up or whatnot and listening to them and acknowledging what’s going on for them and, validating those emotions and feelings that are going through and helping shift them towards more, positive energy outlook and ultimately foster just like a more positive work [00:20:00] environment.
Lillian: Go be that joy magnet.
Thank you so much for listening to the Transforming Healthcare Coaching Podcast. If you found this episode interesting or useful, please share this with your friends and colleagues in healthcare, and we will love it if you hit subscribe so that you never miss an episode. Leave us a review on wherever you are listening to us.
It means a lot to us and we actually read every comment. Also, we want to help with the topics and problems that you want us to talk about. Email us with suggestions, feedback, and praise at podcast at transforminghealthcarecoaching. com. If you want deeper support for your life and work as a healthcare clinician and leader, head over to transforminghealthcarecoaching.
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Not Just Surviving, But Thriving: There's More to Your Story

You deserve more than just getting through the day. You deserve a life filled with purpose, peace, and satisfaction. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together, and unlock the door to a life where you feel empowered, valued, and fulfilled every single day.At the core, our hosts believe in the transformative power of coaching to elevate healthcare professionals’ lives.


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Our hosts, a diverse team of energy leadership coaches, share a common foundation: each has been intricately involved in the healthcare industry, either currently working or having worked in various capacities. This shared experience in healthcare provides a deep understanding of the challenges and triumphs you face daily, making our guidance not just theoretical but grounded in real-life experiences.
At the core, our hosts believe in the transformative power of coaching to elevate healthcare professionals’ lives.

At the core, our hosts believe in the transformative power of coaching to elevate healthcare professionals’ lives.

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