The Silo effect
by Una Harrington – Founder of WRaP EM
Have you ever heard of Emergency Departments (EDs) being likened to silos? Places with tall walls and only one door in and out; places where we go about our core business feeling removed from the rest of the hospital; places with no direct connection to the happenings in other EDs in the our town, state and beyond.
In 2016, whilst developing my own interest in staff performance and wellness, I began to hear whispers about individual ED silos where innovative and exciting wellbeing projects were happening. I then put the feelers – or perhaps more gentle but insistent tentacles – out under the doors of these silos– to ED folks I knew, to ED folks I didn’t know, and sometimes, a bit cheekily, to educators whom I had only seen at conferences.
What I found in each ED silo was this – we all want to perform well in our work, for both ourselves and our patients; we want to do a good job but still retain our sense of selves and health outside of our work; we want to share our collective experience and knowledge with our colleagues; we would like to avoid the sometimes pointless energy of tying to ‘reinvent the wheel’ when it comes to educating and encouraging a holistic approach around wellness.
Members of the WRaP EM group often refer to me as a ‘Connector’. And perhaps, I am one. But before you connect the silos, you have to break down the walls.
So perhaps I served multiple roles – a wrecking ball to break down the silo walls and a bridge builder to connect the silos to each other.
WRaP EM is the bridge between the ED silos I helped connect – so that the grains of wisdom and educational prowess we are all trying to cultivate can be shared in one place.
Because connection with our colleagues is the key to being well and to giving good care to our patients
Because it might help make a difference to one colleague, in their own silo, where the wall is intact and where a bridge could be built.