Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No Mighty Mouse in Here!

Phines, Antonio & Scott

Steve, Phines and Antonio

This week, I went 'In Your Shoes' on the Receiving Dock where I worked for Phines and Antonio. They were not shy to give me orders and put me right to work!

Shipment Arrives and the Match Game Begins:
The 2p shipment just arrived. Our task was to get the right products to the right department for our patients. Easy right? Absolutely not! First, we had to match the order with the boxes. Of course, the shipments did not arrive with each order on the same pallet. This added a lot of wasted time for us. I was certain that those sending the boxes were just playing games with us. Could you imagine looking for cereal at the grocery store only to find the different brands spread over 5 aisles. Phines was so good that he pointed to a box I was looking for without even seeing the label!

Don't Cut the Product:
Another interesting lesson was the need to start out cutting from the 'top' of the box as a beginner. There was a thin cardboard sheet (only placed at the top of the closed boxes) that protected the sterile products from being cut. Ideally, you would not cut the cardboard and could then advance your skills by flipping the box over and cutting from the 'bottom' of the box. This allowed you to empty the box more quickly without pulling up (and therefore, hurting your back). Needless to say, I was not able to move past this beginner stage as I cut into just about every cardboard protective sheet. I will steer away from a future career as a surgeon as well.

Safety First:
At one point, I picked up the boxes and Phines said, "Hey, no Mighty Mouse in here. Use the cart. We need everyone safe and back to work tomorrow."

Try out 'In Your Shoes':
It was another great 'In Your Shoes' Experience. I recommend everyone try it with another department to better appreciate other perspectives. My next stop is back on the nursing floors.

Thank you Steve F, Regional Manager, for your support and to my two bosses Phines and Antonio.

Let me know about any of your 'In Your Shoes' experiences.

Case Manager or Interior Decorator...Or Both

Now this is what I call true ownership! Take a look at what Laura, one of our Case Managers did with her office. In the immortal words of Paula Abdul (please tell me I did not just say that), 'she truly made it her own.'. Laura took 45 square feet (give or take - but not by much) and completely personalized it. This is roughly 1/2 the size of what you have in a physician's exam room. She wanted to make sure those antlers were shown. Thank you Laura.

Perhaps we have to do a contest where Laura redecorates your office!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Watch it Mr. Broken Crash Cart Man!

A few months back, we were challenged with a Crash Cart in one of the areas (it needed to be plugged in to an outlet). The issue was quickly resolved (no patient was impacted)....I'll be back to this reference...

This afternoon, we had a meaningful and lively discussion in our strategy and operations meeting. This is a meeting where our Directors, VPs and Managers from all areas discuss and address key strategic and operational priorities. We started with some overall updates and I shared a few stories about my recent 'In your shoes' experiences. Ben, our KU Intern then presented a process improvement opportunity in Surgery. He shared our current and ideal future state for Surgery turnover times. Turnover time is the time elapsed between one patient leaving the OR and the next patient entering.
From there, we started discussing our regulatory updates and the level of engagement and accountability among the leaders was amazing. The discussion centered around two focus areas and the need to bring to final resolution. All we needed to do was hold each other and ourselves accountable...200% accountability as we say.

They really challenged each other and brought a new level of "respectful tension" to the room - it was refreshing for everyone. Dr. W, our Chief Medical Information Officer, also spoke up providing his perspective as a surgeon.

What did we all agree at the end of the day? It is all about the safety of our patients and our consistency in delivering safe and coordinated care to our patients. We needed to remain true Unwavering Advocates for those we serve.

One final comment came when one Director turned to another and said he could probably go on her unit and point out some areas to improve. She turned to him in a kind and direct manner and said, "Watch it Mr. Broken Crash Cart Man...people in glass houses should not throw stones" (note: from crash cart reference at the start of this blog).

We all enjoyed a good laugh at the end and stayed committed to resolving the two issues we needed to address. A great job by the team.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Collaborative Evening with Competitors

Last night, I enjoyed dinner with Mike D., the head of the area's healthcare council, Damond and Kathy, two competitor hospital CEOs and their respective spouses.

Mike certainly has a wonderful way of getting competing hospital's together in a collaborative and non-confrontational manner. I participate in these dinners about once a year and always look forward to them. It gives the CEOs a chance to better know one another and frankly more of a comfort to explore ways to collaborate down the road. Damond is a BBQ aficionado and I can always count on him sending the, BullSheet, a BBQ magazine with upcoming competitions and ways to certify as a BBQ judge. Kathy and her husband enjoy cycling so it was fun to hear about some of their excursions.

One opportunity for collaboration is the focus on improving the health of our communities with each of us trying to serve as role models with our own healthy lifestyles (although last night with all the food and dessert, we were not quite the role models of health).

We did discuss how many times we just recruit physicians from one another and it does not add any additional physicians to our community as a whole. Recruiting more medical staff to our area is certainly another opportunity as we look to sustain and expand our medical community (especially as retirement accounts 'may' start to improve, we will see more retirements occur).

Certainly a good time getting together with competitors in a collaborative manner - Thank you Mike and Stephanie. We had a great time.

Any collaborations you could share in your communities?

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hey, Who's the New Guy?

I had a chance to work "In your shoes' with Vanessa, our Barista in Starbucks. That is not easy work though Vanessa makes it look easy. What I loved about this role is the chance to interact with many associates, volunteers, physicians and visitors. It gives the Barista a chance to help shape the day of so many people which in turn helps our patients and each other. To put things in perspective, we probably see almost as many people in our Starbucks as our Emergency Department sees in 24 hours - that's a lot of people.

When Vanessa went on break, Evan, our back-up Barista and Food Service Associate came over with Laura, our new Associate. She did not know I was the CEO and asked Evan why I was not given a 15 minute break with Vanessa. I let her know that 'Vanessa would not allow such a break for me.' I did see Laura later and we enjoyed a laugh about her concern for my well being- thank you Laura.
I had a chance to meet Marty who was visiting a family member. Marty knew Vanessa and asked, 'hey, who's the new guy?' She introduced us and let him know she was training me today. He asked how I was doing and she motioned 'so-so' with her hand. Later in the day I went up to visit Marty (I changed back into my suit and took off my hat). I re-introduced myself as the guy who served him his coffee today...he did not recall. I asked if he met the new Barista, Scott, and he said yes. He was certainly surprised when I told him that was me. We spoke for awhile and mid conversation he asked again if it was really me who served him coffee.
And for those of you who were particular with the piece(s) of cake or scone you wanted (you know who you are), that cracked me up as well.
Thank you all for your patience today with the new Barista guy.
Vanessa - you are a wonderful trainer and truly represent the spirit of our mission.
PS - Some coffee tips from's all about the caffe latte (coffee and steamed milk). From there, a 'Macch'iato can be remembered as 'marking' the cup with chocolate and caramel syrups. And the 'cap'puccino is all about 'capping' the coffee off with foam.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Associate of the Month - August

Congratulations to our Associate of the Month, Janille from Respiratory Therapist.

We had a great time today at our celebration of Janille.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Getting Perspective

My grandmother-in-law ('grandmother') is living on a memory unit in a long term care center. One day the residents were going around the room sharing their favorite desserts. The lady before her stated her favorite deserts were Sundaes. My grandmother stated that her favorite were 'Mondays' and she proceeded to laugh...

We just returned from a family wedding and flew there/back. On the way back, my kids were reviewing the drink options - my daughter tried a cranberry juice...

A while back I discussed one of our executive retreats. We talked about 'understanding separate realities' and coming fom a place of 'curiosity vs. judgement' when trying to learn more about another person and what they are really thinking for feeling - their true motives. Well, in the cases above, the following took place:

The staff member on the memory unit shared with my mother in law that my grandmother indicated her favorite dessert was a Monday and that she was confused. My mother in law stated that this happened to be an ongoing joke my grandmother liked to share so actually she was showing some good signs of memory...

When I asked my daughter why she chose the cranberry juice, she stated that she did not know it was offered on planes until now. She actually took he time to explore all the various beverage choices. I can't remember the last time I did that and their were some different options now...

Basically, it was interesting to me that when more questions were asked or the situations were further explored, we found out another perspective.

In the workplace and in our own personal lives, it is very easy to get caught up in one perspective, especially when we may tend to believe that perspective as well. I would encourage everyone to get that extra perspective or two so you could truly validate what you think you are hearing or seeing. It is certainly not easy for me to remember this at all times but a great reminder when I get that extra perspective.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Clean Living

Last blog, I spoke about improving mind, body and spirit...

I saw a very good article in Kansas City's very cool magazine, 435 South.

Check it out. Very informative and truly provides some ways to make all our communities healthier.
Wellness Wisdom by Mitzi Dulan, RD, CSSD

Have you ever heard you should “eat clean” but didn’t really understand exactly what it meant? Simply put, clean eating is to eat food as close to nature as possible. It means you avoid artificial ingredients (colors, flavors, and sweeteners) and highly processed foods. By eating clean, you will improve your energy levels and get leaner. Here are my top tips for eating and living clean.

1. Drink ½ your body weight in water. Take your body weight in pounds and divide by two. This number is how many ounces of water you should be drinking each day. If you want to add a little flavor squeeze a lemon into your water.

2. Slow it down and savor. Eating should be an enjoyable part of life. Take your time to embrace the slow food movement by savoring the flavors of your meal while enjoying a good glass of wine. Most importantly, allow yourself time to relax and be fully present to spend time with your family and friends.

3. Eat healthy fats. Most people have heard that trans fats are the worst type of fats for your body and you should aim for a consumption of ZERO trans fats. You want to focus on eating more foods with omega-3 fats such as salmon, halibut and walnuts.

4. Avoid artificial ingredients in your foods. Aim to eat clean, real foods with simple ingredients that are easy to pronounce. The shorter the list the better. Reading an ingredient label shouldn’t feel like you are taking a chemistry test.

5. Pack it up. Make some meals like black bean soup or clean chili and pack it up for a clean lunch the following day. This helps you to eat clean and also save money.

6. Avoid the clean plate syndrome. Do you always clean your plate? If so, I’m giving you permission to leave food on your plate. In fact, I’m encouraging it! Unfortunately, you aren’t helping the starving children of the world by stuffing yourself at mealtime. Please stop eating when you feel satisfied; not full, stuffed or sick. This saves calories and helps you feel better.

7. Avoid drinking calories. Calories from soda, juice, and high calorie coffee drinks can sabotage your weight loss efforts and don’t satisfy your appetite. Did you know drinking an extra 150 calories a day can pack on an extra 15 pounds per year?

8. Eat a source of protein at every meal. Protein keeps you satisfied and helps prevent food cravings from sabotaging your diet. Aim to get at least 20 grams at breakfast and 30 grams at lunch and dinner.

9. Start lifting. I’m definitely an advocate of weight training and that is for all the ladies, too! Aim to do about 10-30 minutes of weight training three times per week. You can buy some inexpensive dumbbells at Wal-Mart or Target.

10. Avoid eating after dinner. This one is HUGE and has helped countless numbers of my clients to successfully lose weight. By avoiding these extra calories you will promote a weight loss. Which would you rather be doing while sleeping: burning fat or digesting a meal? If you want to burn fat then skip the after-dinner eating.

11. Get moving! Alternate jogging and walking with a goal of eventually building up to 30 minutes four to five days per week. Aim to sprint for 15 seconds and then walk for 45 seconds while gradually adding more minutes. (Always talk to your doctor first prior to starting an exercise program).

12. Out with the white, in with the whole grains. No more buying white pasta, white bread, white rice, etc. Instead, choose whole wheat pitas, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, etc.

13. Record your food intake daily. Research shows that people who lose weight and maintain the weight loss are more likely to log their food intake. Food logging keeps them accountable. If you have an iPhone check out the Lose It application which allows you to log your food intake and track your weight loss.

14. Aim to eat at least one plant-based meal each day. We know that eating more plants is good for you. This will also save you money and is good for the environment. Just make sure even when you are eating plant-based that you still include foods like beans or quinoa.

15. Remove five highly processed foods from your diet. You want to eat fewer packaged and processed foods so write down five processed foods that you are throwing out of your refrigerator and pantry RIGHT NOW!

Thanks 435 South...

I look forward to hearing some other health & fitness tips you'd like to share.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Improving Mind, Body and Spirit: My 'In your Shoes' Experience

So I had a chance to work with the wonderful team on 4West, our critical care step down unit. I did have a badge made up which included my name and the unit name only. Sometimes, I find that people are 'title' watchers and may change the way they act based on your title and role in the organization.

Everyone on the unit was very welcoming to me. The moment I arrived, Lauren (the Charge nurse - and my boss for the shift) called me into an isolation room with a patient. We had to put on a plastic gown and gloves. Within about 2 minutes, I was overheating and probably looked like I was in a sauna. As a runner, I must tell you, we have to find a more 'breathable' gown (hey, maybe DryFit) that is staff friendly, compliant with our regulations and cost effective.

I had a chance to see the compassionate one on one care our patients need and deserve. It was suggested that we should try to get even more volunteers to help sit and talk with the patients. It could certainly feel pretty lonely hanging in a hospital 24/7 for 3-4+ days.

I was shown our incident report so I could better understand the complexities to filling it out. As an organization, we want to increase the number filled out so we could continue to learn and improve how we provide the safest care to our patients. I had a few minutes of downtime and headed to the Emergency Department to see how things were going and if they needed any assistance. I was asked to take a patient from the Emergency Department over to Radiology. A funny thing happened on the way...I sometimes forget how challenging it could be to move the beds through the hospital. Though I did not hit any walls, I better understand how it could happen. Those beds have a mind of their own. Along the way, I realized that I usually go a different direction to get to Radiology and was almost lost in my own hospital...I'll work on the signage! After dropping off the patient, I let the Emergency Department know the hand-off was complete and headed back to 4West. It was dinner time and I had the opportunity to feed a patient. What a rewarding experience this was for me. It allowed me to better know one of our patients and the experience she was having in our hospital. Of course, when one of the nurses came in I accidentally dropped a strawberry on the patient's lap. I apologized to the patient and and let the nurse nurse know that food was not dropping on the patient's lap through the entire feeding. As I went to leave for the evening I grabbed my drink from what I thought was a 'compliant' location. Well, the team busted me and coached me to put in the staff lounge next time.

Overall, it was a very humbling and rewarding experience. I can't thank the team enough for sharing their time with me.

The care we provide to our patients, truly starts with the care with provide to each other. Our mission focuses includes the following statement:

Our commitment to human dignity compels us to provide compassionate, quality health care for body, mind and spirit, with a special concern for the poor.
What does body, mind and spirit mean? A basic definition is viewing the totality of your mental, physical and spiritual states to arrive at a point of balance between them. It's the essence of the word "holistic" which means to take into consideration all aspects of a person's being rather than just the physical. (Source:

This has always been important to me and sometimes you need to 'walk in other's shoes' to get additional perspective. We will continue to focus on the mind, body and spirit of our associates volunteers and physicians so they could provide the same for our patients and their families and friends.

Thank you again Lauren and the 4West Team.

I look forward to understanding how you and/or your organization address mind, body and spirit and how you measure the improvement.