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Blog # 4  As appears in "Pulse" 2017 Purchasing Power Plus edition

Developing Volunteer and Staff Orientation for Hospital Gift Shops        

The experience of working in a hospital gift shop is powerful, personal, and satisfying.
Starting gift shop volunteers and staff with a good orientation program is most important
and critical to their success.
In many hospitals, the orientation program is typically run by Human Resources and thus can
often be too general and lacking the specifics in relationship to the Gift Shop.

It is my experience that developing your own personalized gift shop orientation that meets
your needs and at the same time is fulfilling. I am sure that you will find the following
suggestions useful in developing your gift shop orientation.

As a Gift Shop Manager, I have developed our volunteer and staff orientations stressing the
use of videos, checklists and calendars.  The volunteers and staff have found these useful
and easy to understand helping them get up to speed.  Too much information can be as
counter -productive as not enough. We pace our training using the checklists below.
We also use healthcare related videos in the orientation.                                                          

Start with a Plan:
Offering the Gift Shop volunteers and staff a well-planned orientation compliments the
hospital HR’s orientation. We have found the orientation should prepare attendees with
the knowledge necessary to provide successful personalized service. The Hospital Mission
statement provides the center from which to start our orientation.  We use the “Gift Shop
Mission Statement” to explain how the merchandise relates to the mission of the hospital
and how it creates a dynamic for our customers.  ( patients, visitors and staff ).

As an example, the UCSF Medical Center Mission Statement is:  ”The reason UCSF Medical
Center exists is for Caring, Healing, Teaching and Discovering.” The Gift Shop mission statement
is: “The reason UCSF Medical Center Gift Shop exists is to provide Caring,
Healing, Teaching and Discovering products and services.

The Power of Checklists:
Develop an orientation checklist to insure consistency in the program.
We have turned “Maslow Meets Onboarding” ( copyright Psych Press 2013) into an
orientation checklist.

Physiology: Workplace layout, where things are
Safety: Health, safety, Policies, Procedures                                
Belonging: Unwritten rules, who’s who
Esteem: Expectations, what’s rewarded and what’s not
Growth:  Career aspirations, professional development

We use this Calendar to keep our volunteers and staff engaged.
Gift Shop Orientation Calendar: “DWMQYC” “1-7-30-90-365 days”

First Day Meet the team                                      D-1
First Week Learn about your job                         W-7
First Month Contribute in your role                      M-30
First Quarter Understand the Big Picture            Q-90
First Year Flourish in your profession                  Y-365
Your Career Create positive change                    C-365 and beyond      

Add Videos:
A picture is worth of a thousand words. We use these three videos in our orientation:
1.        AHA: The Power of One  (
2.        Cleveland Clinic “Empathy”: (
3.        Monster On Boarding HR video:(           

Understanding Gift Cards

Hospital and Small Gift Shops are asking where
and how can gift cards be obtained.

Understanding what gift cards represent to
merchants is an important factor in answering
these questions.

Gift Cards are really a form of advertising with
an added monetary value enticing  customers
to return to the gift shop and then, hopefully,
spend more than the cards value.

Gift cards are not a profit center in themselves.
They are not sold at a profit. Actually they are an
expense that includes the cards cash value, cost of the
plastic cards and printing, monthly vendor charges
and additional equipment if your POS is not a match
with the vendor.

For a small shop “gift certificates” and “punch cards”
accomplish the same goal without additional expense.
For a detailed explanation go to:

       What are SSB's?

       SSB is the acronym for "Sugar Sweeten Beverages."
       Choosing healthier drinks is a first step in maintaining
       a healthy weight and helping to reverse the obesity
       epidemic now sweeping the United States.

       According to the NHANES data from 2009-2010
       37.5% of adults are obese. The obesity epidemic is
       affecting our health costs to the tune of $ 147 Billion
       on an annual basis.
Hospital Gift Shops are being asked to assess the
SSB product mix in their beverage merchandise
assortments. Red Bull, 5 Hours Energy and Coke are
being removed from beverage cases and replaced
with still and sparkling waters, hinted water and diet

Surprisingly many hospital gift shops are reporting
that although the customers snicker and complain,
they thank the shops for helping them make better


Blog # 3    Adult Coloring Books

The Color of Happiness:

The adult coloring book craze started in the spring of 2015.
Hospital Gift Shops are reporting that adult coloring books
are selling well to patients, staff and families.

Today’s society places left brain demands on us.
Now we get to use the right side of our brains with
an activity that takes the stress out of everyday thoughts
and let us tap into our creative brain in a low tech way with
coloring books.

“The surge in popularity of adult use of coloring books is likely
due to individuals tapping into the intrinsic healing qualities of
art that have served as a benefit to humans of all different cultures
through out history” , says Richards Carolan, director of the art
therapy doctoral program at Notre Dame de Namur University
in Belmont CA.

The trend has been fueled to some degree by social media—
colorists post their elaborate creations on Facebook, Utube
and Pinterest, garnering fans and offering pro tips on things like
Prismacolor versus gel pens, or how to make that tricky owl in the
corner pop—and by marketing that associates them with such
therapeutic ends as anxiety- and stress-reduction.

Though coloring books are often used by kids, these and other
new coloring book titles are being marketed to stressed-out,
work-addicted adults, who want to benefit from the quiet zen
that a coloring session can bring.

The best selling titles in Hospital Gift Shops are:
Johanna Basford's "Secret Garden:  An Inky Treasure Hunt & Coloring
Book" long with her second effort, "Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest &
Coloring Book"
Angie Grace "Balance" Extreme Stress Menders  Volume 1"
Emma Farrarons "The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-stress Art Therapy.".
Basford’s next book, “The Lost Ocean: An Underwater Adventure and Coloring
Book,” will go on sale in the fall. Basford comments that coloring “ unleashes
the creativity we all have in a way that’s quite safe.”

So if you want a break from everyday activities (that does not need
to charged or plugged in), pick up a colored pencil and begin to
experience the happiness of coloring.     
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