Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Community - Remembering Tony

Today was a very interesting day for me and quite a reflection of what community means. There were so many ways which community hit me today. Before I start, I'll let you know I checked out and it read:

–noun, plural-ties.
1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2. a locality inhabited by such a group.
3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.
4. a group of associated nations sharing common interests or a common heritage: the community of Western Europe.
5. Ecclesiastical. a group of men or women leading a common life according to a rule.
6. Ecology. an assemblage of interacting populations occupying a given area.
7. joint possession, enjoyment, liability, etc.: community of property.
8. similar character; agreement; identity: community of interests.
9. the community, the public; society: the needs of the community.

Well, for me community hit me the following ways today (not necessarily in this order):
- As a member
- As a leader
- As a visitor
- As an observer
- As an outsider

I started out this morning in a master's swim group where approximately 10-15 people meet and challenge each other and themselves in the pool. From there, I met with a few physicians who practice with St. Joseph Medical Center to share the continued direction of our organization as well as the priorities for their practice. And then began an hour long ride to Warrensburg, MO to attend the funeral of a friend's father, Harold G. Along the way, I noticed a dog on the side of the road who was sitting next to another dog who had clearly died recently. On the way back, I stopped by a local coffee/espresso hut called Go-Go Beans and had a great conversation about espresso and healthcare reform with the owner. I must say the conversation was more engaging and interesting as we both enjoyed our espresso. Once I arrived back at my hospital, I rounded for awhile. There were a lot of people talking about tomorrow's funeral of one of our incredible associates and friend, Tony S. I have included some pictures of what was hung throughout the facility for people to sign for Tony and his family. I have also included a few 'ICUs' shown on our intranet site which acknowledge the support associates have for one another and in this case Tony.

ICUs (I Celebrate You):

Your beautiful smile will be sorely missed. It was always such a ray of sunshine to meet you in the hall as you always had a big smile and a friendly hello. You were certainly loved by your co-workers here at St. Joseph. You were a dedicated worker that really lived our Mission and Values. Bless you and your family and may you rest in peace knowing that your children will be cared for with love. We will miss you!

Tony always had a smile, or something funny to tell me everytime I would pass him in the hallways. His smile and his character will greatly be missed. My prayers go out to his family, and may Tony R.I.P.

Tony Thanks for always willingly giving your help. Thanks for your gentleness with the patients. Thanks for your compassion. Thanks for the big smile. Thanks for your hello's. Thanks for your friendliness to all. Thanks for always making this place a little bit brighter just by showing up on the unit. I will miss you a lot. It has been a great pleasure working with you.

Tony was such a wonderful person. No matter what kind of day you were having when Tony was around you couldn't help but smile. Work will never be the same without him.

I first met Tony when I myself was new to this hospital. I remember having to transport a patient from the ICU to radiology for a test. Lucky me, Tony came to help me transport my patient. I had NO idea where radiology even was! I expressed that to Tony and he said 'stick with me kid and you'll be fine.' Truer words were never spoken! From then on Tony was my 'transport buddy' and whenever he came to the ICU to help me transport a patient I had both a sigh of relief and an instant smile because of his kind heart and compassionate nature. He will be missed tremendously

Laughter, love, live, and full of life with a smile. Family, kind-hearted and gentle voice is who you are. Your light will always shine and be remembered throughout SJMC. Sadly missed, rest in peace. Your family is in my prayers.

Everyday we strive to keep our sense of community in this 'always' changing environment, at the same time rebuilding our community when it feels torn apart.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Your Undivided Attention, Please

Last week, our executive team spent 1 1/2 days together (we have several new members) to discuss ways we could assist each others' efforts and the overall performance of our organization. While most of us are probably not big fans of retreats, it was one which we walked away and all had a very good experience. We had a chance to work with Mark from LeadQuest. Some of the key things we discussed were based on Mark's 10 principles of Personal Leadership.

The list sticks with the basics. Many of us know them and many of us struggle with the consistency of enrolling all 10 principles. One of my top focus areas was something I shared in my blog a few weeks back when I served as a panelist on social in the moment (the 1st principle).

Something I really enjoyed seeing...staying in the moment for each activity actually relaxed me and the others. One interesting challenge is to stay engaged on an activity for 15 minutes, 30 or even the full hour. Not easy at all. Now it begs the question, when many of us (that includes me) are not big fans of long meetings day after day, why do we keep having the same meeting format? It is actually difficult for people to stay fully engaged for a one hour discussion without checking their watch, emails, etc.

So this week, I would like to hear your feedback on ways you stay in the moment and ways you keep those meeting times down to address what you set out to accomplish.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Twitter Postings: Healthcare Reform Updates

I have started to get more questions around healthcare reform updates. As I receive and review information, I will include on my twitter account which is posted on the columns of my blog site.

In addition, I have posted other CEO blogs which I read on a regular basis.

Please let me know if there is additional information you would like to see posted on my site.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Sometimes, you just have to know when it is not an appropriate time to set-up a business meeting.

Well, last year on this date, I set up a meeting with one of our Surgeons (who also did not have plans to celebrate the St. Patrick's Day holiday) and Jane, one of our Executive Directors (who did have plans for the holiday...after our meeting). We (I mean me and the surgeon) were shocked to see the restaurant we picked was empty and even the wait staff was surprised to see us. Jane reminded us it was St. Patrick's Day and we might be one of the very few in the world 'not' celebrating. Certainly a lesson on life balance. I learned my lesson on setting up a business meeting on this day of celebration and let Jane know she could count on me not to do this again. She must know better...she took the day off.

Here are a pair of shoes from one of our fine associates, Kathleen. It was shared these are a mixture between Gene Simmons' (KISS) boots and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

I did not ask any more questions.

Happy Patti's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And You May Ask Yourself...How Did I get Here?

Each year I set personal goals around my family, health, professional growth, community involvement and personal hobbies. The challenge in advancing these goals usually comes down to what I do every day, weekand month to get there. At times I find myself shocked at what takes place along this journey. Just 30 days ago I ate meat everyday with no pets in the house. Today, I find myself a vegetarian (with a little influence from my wife after she read Alicia Silverstone's book, the Kind Diet). And as of Sunday we now have a new dog, Louie.
I now appreciate the lyrics in the Talking Heads song...'and you may
ask yourself, how did I get here?'

Our businesses change so quickly. Many days if feels as though you could put the same effort into successful outcomes as you do when things do not go as planned. It amazes me to see how things can change and advance every month.
It is exciting to share a vision on where we will be in 1, 3 and 5
years. It is extremely rewarding to share our strategy and what we will achieve in 30-45 days to ensure we stay on track for the longer vision.
This morning I had breakfast with Dr. Braham. We ate at Waids which is certainly a Kansas City staple. Dr. Braham shared with me his thoughts on his practice's growth and the strong rise in physician employment across the country. While intellectually people know who'employs' them, he focuses on treating every patient as his 'employer'. They shape when he gets to work and when he leaves. They evaluate him through the care he provides and pay him once satisfied.  Everyone he come across is a 'potential employer'. This certainly applies to many of our work places and it speaks to the personal attention and connection each of have the ability to provide to 'current, future and potential employers'.
It is important to focus on what we will do today in order to advance our personal and professional lives for the future. What we do everyday can be challenging, frustrating and rewarding. Isn't that why we we are here? 
Time to go...our loveable Louie won't stop barking.

I look forward to hearing your challenging, frustrating and rewarding stories.
Meet Louie...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Help for Chile

More than 1.5 million people have been displaced by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Chile on February 27 (and subsequent aftershocks). This morning Ascension Health President and CEO Anthony Tersigni sent out a system-wide email, inviting all ministry associates to support, again, the Seton Institute, Ascension Health's international ministry, to support relief and recovery efforts in an earthquake ravaged nation. The contributions made on behalf of Haiti have provided desperately needed food, water, shelter and medical supplies. Now the people of Chile need similar assistance.

Should you wish to donate, checks may be made payable to Seton Institute and sent to: Seton Institute, P.O. Box 140182, St. Louis, Mo.,63114, Attn: Chile Earthquake Relief. Seton Institute will use 100% of every donation to directly support relief efforts. Please keep the people of Chile in your hearts and prayers.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

February Highlights

Since starting my blog, I have been very impressed with the openness of the CEO bloggers. Dr. Paul Levy is certainly the person whom many of us credit for starting our own blog. In my case it was Dr. Levy and Marty Bonick . It really allows us a chance to share our perspective on our organization and healthcare in general.

Each month I send out highlights to our associates. We are certainly very proud of the care and service we provide. I would like to share a few of the February highlights with you:

- St. Joseph Medical Center's inpatient and outpatient services satisfaction results are tracking the highest in over 2 years - a true reflection of our focus on patient experience.

- A couple of weeks ago, I hosted a breakfast meeting with staff from various departments. We discussed the benefit of employees going to other departments to 'walk in your shoes' to better understand one another's role and impact in the organization. I am pleased to share the Float Pool RN orientation process now includes a day spent shadowing unit secretaries and PCAs, in order to provide a 'walk in their shoes' experience. This process will soon be rolled out to all RN orientation. Thank you to Lee V. and the entire Float Pool team.

- Nicki R. (ICU Educator) has been invited to share her abstract and poster presentation “Are Capillary Samples for Tight Blood Glucose Control Accurate in Critically Ill Patients?” at the 3rd Evidence-Based Practice on the Frontline conference in Columbia, MO.

- Research shows that first year turnover rates can be as high as 50% across companies. In an effort to increase keep strong retention rates, Human Resources has been inviting employees who have been with Carondelet Health between 60 and 90 days to a monthly program called S.T.A.Y. (Success Through Asking You). program is a great way for us to encourage communication while getting feedback that could help improve the workplace and increase retention.

- The Outpatient Sport Rehab Center has officially started offering a Telephone Sports Injury Line. We are promoting this service at the Overland Park Soccer Complex. It is available to all in the community.

As always I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Associate Newsletter

I was thinking about things to write about for our Associate Newsletter this week that would be interesting to our associates, volunteers, physicians and community members who read it. So I asked Jane (#6) and Cindy in my office, "What would you like to hear about?" Jane said, "It's an Associate newsletter so you should probably move your thoughts to the back!" Cindy said I should share some personal observations about what's working well and things going on in my life outside of work. It's never a dull moment in my office and the honesty and directness of these two is always humbling for me.

I wrote that I enjoy many activities related to health & wellness and this carries over into my family life as well. Recently, I hosted our team for Ingram's Fit Exec Challenge. We took 4th place out of 21 teams. This was absolutely amazing news and one which I was so pleased to see. As healthcare professionals, we have to model the behavior which our community expects from us - that could be around our safe care, compassion, respect to each other, healthy lifestyles, pride in what we do, spirituality, communication, coordinated care and listening. We are evaluated on how we stay true to our mission and those we serve.

I shared that a few days ago, I had a chance to participate in a mini-triathlon. This was my first triathlon and I felt it every step of the way....I felt like I was drowning in the pool, overheating on the bike and getting dizzy through the run. While it was nerve-wracking for me to do this, it was exhilarating when I completed it. It was a great sense of accomplishment though I was truly in my "uncomfort zone" throughout the race.

When I started this blog, I was definitely in an "uncomfort zone." As you can see from the sidebar, I started using Twitter a couple of months ago. Using these social media has become easier as time goes on and I'm glad, because utilizing different forums for communication allows us to share the great things we are doing in the organization along with the challenges we are faced with every day as providers. The challenges will continue and we are in this together to ensure the success of our organization and sustain the mission which the Sisters of St. Joseph started over 135 years ago. There are so many great things going on at St. Joseph Medical Center, St. Mary's Medical Center and all the Carondelet Health entities and I'm proud to be part of this organization.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Can't A Man Get Some Privacy Around Here?

A few years back my wife was working as an occupational therapist in the schools. One day, she had a young child who took off and ran into the bathroom. When she went after him, she asked if he was ok. His response (as grown up as can be) was, "Can't a man get some privacy around here?"

Another time, I went to see a well known speaker named Quint and he provided some ground rules which I really liked. Ask him anything at anytime during the week except...when he was in the bathroom. He said that was a time when silence was probably best and we could talk when outside that zone. The funny thing is I happened to see him in the bathroom and he asked how I was enjoying the conference. I let him know I was certainly enjoying it but also wanted to follow his ground rules so we could complete the conversation later.

That brings me to a situation I was in this week. I walked into the bathroom (I know, clearly too much info for the blog today) and someone walked in and asked, "Is that you, Scott?" Needless to say, a little awkward but I responded accordingly. He went on to let me know there were delays in one of the departments and asked if I could follow up with them. Of course I said I would as a longer discussion was not my main focus at the time.

So, I want everyone to know that I will remain open in my communication, accessible and transparent on the direction of our organization. However, one rule does need to be put in talking once "utilization" starts in the restrooms.

Just thought you'd enjoy a little levity today.

I look forward to hearing some of your comical situations.