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To improve quality of care at her hospital, this doctor prioritizes the well-being and resilience of her staff

Patients benefit when nurses are recognized, fulfilled and happy, says Brenda Acoltzi, a community doctor in one of Mexico’s public health facilities.
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A community doctor for the past 10 years, Brenda Acoltzi has nurtured a passion for providing quality care for patients at every stage of their lives. “In the beginning of my career, I helped deliver babies and even had a mother name her baby after me,” she recalls. These days, she often cares for patients who have reached an advanced age, especially those living with chronic illness. “My priority is to provide the best possible care and dignity for them throughout the cycle of life,” she says.

Acoltzi is one of more than 160 healthcare professionals in 21 public healthcare institutions across eight states in Mexico who participated in the Well-being, Resilience and Dignified Treatment Program. With support from Johnson & Johnson Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Partners in Health (PIH) launched the project to help improve the welfare and resilience of health workers within the country’s public health context and ensure the dignified treatment for patients and their families .

Acoltzi was excited to learn that Hospital Regional Otomí Tepehua, where she works, had been invited to participate in the program. “The aim of the project was to improve quality care at our hospital,” she says. “I felt this was very relevant to my role and I was interested in learning more about the practices that could improve the well-being of our healthcare personnel and patients.”

A significant area of improvement was increased recognition for nurses. The hospital hosted an event on January 6 this year, Mexico’s Day of the Nurse, to publicly thank this critical cadre for their commitment to patients’ good health. “Nurses do such important work and when they are recognized, fulfilled and happy, the entire hospital is happy. This happiness is contagious, and it filters down to patients, who benefit at the end of the day,” says Acoltzi.

Personally, the project helped her feel better prepared to address workplace challenges such as communication and language barriers with patients and colleagues in a sensitive manner and has helped her improve quality management at the hospital. “I feel more empowered both personally and professionally; I now have the right tools to gauge the needs of my colleagues, make effective recommendations, to become a better team leader and to face the challenges of everyday life at the hospital, while always staying connected to my true purpose of serving patients,” she says.

Acoltzi reports seeing tangible improvements within the hospital following participation in the program. Hospital staff were invited to share comments on how they feel about their daily work at the facility and areas where they would like to see change.

“It was an eye-opening exercise; our teams really got behind the initiative and it was wonderful to see such a positive response,” she says. “Staff members at all levels felt heard and, as a result, everyone volunteered to work together to help bring positive change into the workplace. It was like a door opened; there was increased connection throughout the hospital, and we were able to break down barriers to progress. This is exceptional work, with exceptional results and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to experience this first-hand.”

Acoltzi is proud of the impact her work has had at the community level and says her biggest hope is to continue expanding her knowledge to enhance patient care. “I feel so connected to my community and believe it is where I can make the biggest difference,” she says. “I want to keep serving them, but in an expanded way with more tools and learnings, and I want to help empower other health workers so that together we can provide quality care where it is needed most.”