Awards and Appreciation

SATF thank‑you note campaign cheers staff

Image of note that states Thank You To The Helpers.
Dr. John Choy, SATF’s Chief of Mental Health Services, sent this Thank You Note in appreciation for staff’s COVID-19 vaccination patient education efforts.

By Tina Lawrence, Chief Quality Officer
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility-State Prison, Corcoran (SATF)

“Thank you.” We are taught these simple words as young children. We say it when we are given something – a drink, a treat, a gift or a compliment. It is simply two words, a common phrase. Or is it? Studies show these words have a powerful, almost metamorphic, impact on our lives and those around us.

Gratitude is good for the brain

Also, a strong focus on gratitude is good for your brain, important for your relationships and crucial for our workplace. So saying “thank you” is a gift in itself. 

In June 2020, the Healthcare Services Department at SATF began a thank-you note healthcare initiative. Managers and supervisors started sending handwritten thank-you notes to staff and peers.

The notes show appreciation for a job well done and contributions to the department’s success. Research indicates these notes engender a culture of appreciation in the workplace.  

Staff feel valued

Being seen, heard, acknowledged, and appreciated fulfill basic human needs. People like to be valued at their jobs, with appreciation being one of the most sought-after forms of praise in the workplace. 

Consequently, a simple thank you can go a long way toward making employees and colleagues feel valued — and valuable. A sincere thank you builds trust and promotes employee engagement, resulting in better performance and less turnover. 

Having sent 3,600 thank-you notes since the initiative began, SATF healthcare leaders have seen a culture of appreciation beginning to take root. The program helps retain valuable employees and attract talented and dedicated candidates, according to those behind the effort.

Fostering a culture of appreciation leads to a more engaged workforce that shares their vision “to deliver world-class correctional healthcare right here, right now.”

A note of thanks

Dr. John Choy’s wrote this letter to those helping educate incarcerated patients about the need to be vaccinated.

“Thank you for your invaluable assistance to the Medical/Nursing Inmate Vaccination Team by providing COVID-19 vaccination education to SATF inmate-patients. I am proud of you and so grateful that through your service to our patients and staff, you are helping to stop the spread of the virus and make our workplace, our community and our state a safer place. With gratitude, Dr. John Choy, SATF’s Chief of Mental Health Services.”