The GWT Blog

GoodWork Pilot in Radboud Academic Hospital, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Posted on May 13, 2011

By Alexandrien van der Burgt-Franken
Alexandrien van der Burgt-Franken

The GoodWork Project has been working with Stichting Beroepseer (The Professional Pride Foundation) in the Netherlands  for many months, and we are very excited about the  work they are doing. They started a GoodWork Hub this year, and now are piloting GoodWork sessions using the Toolkit in various professional settings. Below, read an account of the first of these sessions at the Radboud Hospital in Nijmegen and the plans for future sessions.

The Professional Pride Foundation in the Netherlands is starting to use  the GoodWork Toolkit  to lead sessions on GoodWork in an academic hospital. The translated GoodWork Toolkit will be used during four sessions.  For these sessions, three groups of hospital employees will be selected: the junior staff, the nurses, and the heads of the different departments of the hospital, including senior doctors and educators. The first session took place in April, and the second session will start this week.

Yolande Witman, doctor and researcher, and Alexandrien van der Burgt, trainer, coach and chairman of the Stichting Beroepseer (Professional Pride Foundation) are the process leaders of these sessions.

The central theme of the first session was, “GoodWork in general”. The main questions here included: what is GoodWork? Why is it important? What do we need to achieve GoodWork? What questions do we have about GoodWork?

The session started with interviews. The participants were asked to interview one another. They discussed the question “What makes you a good professional?”.

After the interviews, the facilitators led a discussion about GoodWork and the inherent challenges in achieving GoodWork.  This discussion enabled the participants to think about their own criteria for GoodWork in their professions.  At the end of this first session the participants were asked to sort the value-sort cards to determine which values they prioritize in their careers.

In the second session, participants will talk about excellence. Two narratives from the Toolkit will be used:  one about Alfred Bloom (“Chasing Excellence”) and Lauren (“The Price of Principles). The target of this session is to formulate a useful definition for excellence and to explore the criteria included in excellence.  Participants will also investigate the difference between professional and personal standards for excellent work.

In the third session, the focus will turn to ethics and GoodWork.  The fourth session will involve a discussion about engagement, or the meaning professionals find in their work.

At the end of these sessions facilitators plan to organize a central meeting where the three different groups will be brought together. During this final meeting, they will share their experiences from previous sessions and exchange ideas. The hope is that these disparate groups will learn from one another.

In September the results of the GoodWork pilot in the Radboud Hospital in Nijmegen will be presented and discussed.

Stay tuned for updates on the next few sessions and on the final session in September.


Name: Joan Miller

Posted at May 17, 2011 at 08:35:55
Comment: I look forward to hearing the responses of the professionals participating in the reflective sessions centered on GoodWork. I have been using the GoodWork Toolkit in undergraduate nursing classes. Students engage in meaningful discussion about the meaning of good work. However, I have not yet used the GoodWork Toolkit in hospital settings where professional nurses often state they have little time for reflection. They frequently report symptoms of burnout. I will watch for updates on discussions related to engagement in work among the professionals participating in your sessions. What provides meaning for their work? What strategies do they use to mitigate risk for burnout? Is burnout a phenomenon they experience? I will watch for updates!

Name: Howard Gardner

Posted at May 21, 2011 at 11:48:35
Comment: My colleagues and I are delighted to learn of the promising and well thought-through efforts of our colleagues in the Netherlands. Our own research in the United States a decade ago focused on 9 professions, including some pilot work with physicians. When Joan Miller began her work with nurses some years ago, this was the first initiative undertaken by professionals unconnected to our own research group--and also the first foray with nurses. Now, with this new work being launched in the Netherland, the GoodWork lens is being extended across the medical profession and with an indepth examination in another national culture. All interested in understanding and promoting ethics in the professions will be enlightened by the results of this estimable new project.

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