I’ve been drinking black coffee since I was 3 years old – it’s an Italian thing. I come from a long line of expert coffee drinkers and because I drink it black, I can tell good coffee from bad coffee.
I can remember sitting in the kitchen as a little girl, watching the percolator on the stove, waiting for the coffee to bubble up in the lid. That’s when I knew the coffee was ready!
When I travel, my quest – my mission – is always to find a good cup of coffee! Recently I walked into a Caribou Coffee shop and found myself drinking a pretty good cup of coffee, but what I really remembered wasn’t the coffee – it was the employees.
Every employee was smiling, one was whistling as he was making another customer’s latte, and another was rushing over to the condiment counter shouting, “man down” when a customer spilled her drink on the counter. He quickly helped her clean it up and got her another drink.
Not only did I decide to stay and drink my coffee there (I usually grab and go), but I also took the opportunity to ask one of the employees about working there and why everyone was this nice. He actually sat down with me and shared a bit about the Caribou Coffee training they all receive upon hire.
Employees at Caribou Coffee are taught the acronym BAMA
B = Be excellent, not average
Everything they do from making the coffee to refilling the condiment stand, they do with excellence. To me, being excellent was evident in the way they worked together to make every cup of coffee, and the way they smiled, and seemed as though they LOVED providing customers their beloved cup of Joe.
A = Act with urgency
Did you know that customers get their coffee faster at Caribou Coffee than any other coffee shop? Even a few minutes count, especially if you’re in a hurry. Just like when the employee saw the customer spill her drink, he was “on it” like the Flash!
M = Make a connection
They try to remember and use customer’s names and one little piece of information. Someone’s daughter recently got married or that they just started a new job, etc. They engage in conversations with their customers. They didn’t know me but asked for my name because I “looked new” to them.
A = Anticipate needs
One thing the employee told me is that they pay attention to their customers. It’s as though they do their job with one eye and the other eye is always on surveillance looking for any needs the customer might have. Are the napkins almost gone (they refill before the last one), have a lot of people been in the bathroom (they go in for a toilet paper check), what about the cream? They try to take care of things before a customer alerts them!
Adopting this acronym has made Caribou Coffee the #2 coffee chain in the United States behind Starbucks. Their retention of employees is remarkable, and customers rave about their service.
How cool would it be if every nurse, unit or department did the same thing?
[easy-tweet tweet=”Find out what the BAMA approach is and how #healthcare could benefit by using it! #healthyworkforce”]
How to Adopt the BAMA Approach in Healthcare
Be excellent, not average
Patients don’t care if you’ve been a nurse for 1 month, 1 year, 10 years or 100 – they expect their nurses to be competent (excellent). You can’t be excellent if you settle for average. Excellence is a mindset, an attitude that can be validated by engaging in the following activities:
- Read every day (something that will help you grow personally and professionally)
- Learn something every day
- Attend seminars, in-services, and conferences
Act with urgency
Many nurses struggle with prioritization during patient care (I sometimes did too!). How often have you assumed you were going to have a lighter load that day, so you procrastinated your charting, your audits, etc. thinking that you had plenty of time? Then wham! Your stable patient is now in crisis and you have 2 admissions waiting for you. Don’t take your time because you THINK your day is calm. Act with a sense of ongoing urgency from the moment you hit the floor. However, I want you to think about acting with urgency with yourself too. What have you always wanted to do? Go back to school, get certified, learn a new skill, etc? What are you waiting for? You only have 1 life and you don’t get a do-over.
Make a connection
The single most desired human emotion is to feel connected with other humans. Every day, find at least one patient to sit with, look in the eye, and have a conversation. It’s just good medicine! Oh, and do the same with a co-worker who may also need a human connection.
[easy-tweet tweet=”The single most desired human emotion is to feel connected with other humans. #stayconnected”]
Not only should we be anticipating the needs of our patients, but what about the needs of our co-workers? Try one of these:
- One of the most anxiety provoking moments in a student nurse’s life is when they have to approach the nurse who they are assigned to! Why not reach out to that student first? Remember what it was like to be a student.
- Let’s say your nursing assistant gets pulled to sit in a patient’s room. Why not offer to give her a break while perhaps you chart; or help her bathe a patient? Doing this shows that you value her.
- Pay attention to your co-workers’ workload. When you see someone running around like a chicken with their head cut off, find a way to help. “Hey. I’ll take Mr. Rossi down for his scan.” Or, “I wanted to let you know that I took care of Mr. Rossi yesterday and know that he likes to take his meds with apple juice, so I put a few in his room for you.” Small acts with big results.
Extend compassion (I added this one)
This is what I know about the public. They expect the nurses to be competent, but what they want from us is our compassion. It’s compassion that enables the nurse who was caring for a one-year-old child whose dying in a pediatric ICU. I don’t know how she did it. She managed to get an adult bed in that ICU. She told the mom to get into the bed and then put that baby against her abdomen as if she was back in her womb when they turned off the life support. That’s compassion. That’s what they want from us.
[easy-tweet tweet=”The public EXPECTS #nurses to be competent, but they WANT us to be compassionate. “]
There are lessons to be learned every day, everywhere you go, even in a coffee shop IF you look for them. Just imagine if nurses BAMA’d their departments. It would be an awesome place to work AND an awesome place to be a patient.
Be kind. Take care. Stay connected.
Helping you cultivate a healthy happy workforce,.