Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Decoration Poem

A fun and safe way to celebrate. This went out to our associates (Thank you Shirley):

RE: Christmas decorations

All the departments throughout the hospital
Liked the Holiday Season a lot…
But the Environment of Care (EOC) Committee
It seemed, for some reason did not!

The Safety Committee was nervous,
Realizing the Holiday Season was here,
And let’s not forget – regulatory agencies are always near.

While departments are decorating and decking their halls,
Putting up trees and wrapping the walls,
The Committee knew it was the time to send out the information this year.
So, the Committee set up guidelines to which all departments must adhere.

All artificial decorations, including wreaths and trees
must be made out of non-combustible materials,
And proof of flammability rating we must see.

No decorations can be hung or strung from fire sprinklers, ceilings or lights.
All electrical decorations or string lights are just NOT permitted.
It is even stated that one cannot be committed
To decorating a large area or space
With wrapping paper used to grace
And cover the walls, deck the columns, wrap desks or floors,
And don’t even think of covering the Code Red Barrier Doors!

Last but not least, all decorations and/or trees
Should not be placed in corridors, landings or near these:
Hose cabinets, circuit boxes, informational signs, areas of EXIT keep free,
From covering as well as the fire extinguishers, blocked they should never be!

Wait! There is one more thing to hold dear.
Our decorations should not interrupt
The quality of patient care -
For that is why we are all here.

The moral of the story is the EOC Committee does like the Season,
For what they do, they do for a reason.
Keeping everyone and the building safe
Is a duty this Committee must face.

Have a Safe, Healthy and Happy Holiday Season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to take time to reflect on the many things for which I am thankful, starting with our Sisters of St. Joseph who set our foundation.  I am thankful for our veterans’ service to our country and the sacrifices they make so we can enjoy the many freedoms afforded to us in this country.  I am also thankful for our volunteers and the countless hours they donate to make our hospital a better place for patients.  Every day I hear stories of associates and physicians who exceed patients’ expectations and I feel truly blessed to work with the very best professionals.  Please enjoy time with your families and friends this holiday.  If you are traveling, please make it a safe trip.  For those of you who will be working on Thanksgiving, thank you for your dedication to our patients.  Always remember that because of your hard work, dedication and unwavering advocacy, we are able to provide compassionate, quality health care for our patients and for that, I am truly thankful every day. 
Have a safe, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Accountability Hits Home

Several blogs ago, I spoke about 200% accountability...ensuring each person stays accountable to their own performance as well as the performance of their colleagues.

Tonight, I was helping my kids with their homework. My son turned to me and said, "Dad, I would like to Google your hospital to see if there are any areas that need to improve. Since you ask us to improve when we are not performing well in school, I could now see where you could improve at work." Now that's accountability!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Day to Celebrate New Lives

Today we had the most "planned" births in our hospital's history. Someone asked me to look back 9 months to see if the 14th or 15th of February was a significant date...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Self Check-In Healthcare

We're all familiar with the interactive kiosks these days. Certainly, they do not take the place of human interaction. They are one part of an overall customer experience Usually, they have been used to help with decreasing time - both to those receiving service and those providing the service.

In the 1990s, I used an ATM for the first time. I was shocked to know that people actually trusted their money could be deposited into this "box"and then show up in their bank account. Now it is unheard of to go to a bank without ATMs. It seems, people rarely go into backs these days. Airlines are another major utilizer of the kiosks. The craze has spread to self check-out counters in grocery stores, photo shops, and now fast food restaurants. We are even seeing more in the healthcare sector including the utilization of "notebook tablets" replacing the typical sign-in "clipboard" and paperwork pile. Much more even takes place on-line to reduce time. Southwest Airlines is definitely one of the companies I am most impressed with as it comes to leading the way for the customer experience based on what is most important to their customers. They were one of the leaders in terms of their phone systems where customers would rarely wait on the line more than a few seconds. When you speak with their employees, the employees focus on safety, ensuring that the planes are turned around within a designated timeframe. They also know that they needed to keep the cost of service down and provide a great experience so customers will return. They were one of the first using kiosks and currently one of the best in terms of on-line check-in, making it easier to use them as your airline carrier.

In our hospital, we will be exploring some of these various options as another way to build on the experience for those we serve and decrease the amount of non-value added time it takes to provide the service. I'm interested in your perspective. I'll keep you posted as we investigate further.

Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day to all of our volunteers, physicians and associates who have served their country. Your sacrifices are appreciated by us all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This morning, I heard the phrase, "slow down to speed up" one two different scenarios. One time was while I was swimming before work and the second time during a discussion with our executive team.

This means, slow down, focus on the right technique or process and ultimately you will be able to do the same activity faster and more efficiently without "running out of steam."

As a hospital executive, many decisions need to be made on a daily basis. I do not take this responsibility lightly. Many of us, throughout the hospital, make balanced decisions every day keeping in mind various perspectives before moving ahead.

While swimming in the morning, there is a Coach who constantly watches our performance. He provides very timely and direct feedback. This morning he said to me "Every time you try to go too fast, you lose the intended technique and you slow down. You have to keep thinking and being mindful of what you are doing in the water as you swim. When you slow down, you will find that you will think more about your form and ultimately speed up. In the process, you will use less energy (wasted time) than you use now."

Please take note that he also enjoyed watching several others essentially swim over me as my form weakened and I slowed down. It was certainly a direct way of receiving immediate feedback! Getting the cues to slow down is not always so obvious. There is a need to constantly communicate and gain perspective from one another.

One way we needed to slow down happened this evening...tonight, I discussed a patient transfer with a few physicians and our Nursing Officer. The issue had been brought to me from a couple different people with differing viewpoints. "Slowing down" and reviewing our current processes with all the key stakeholders allows us a chance to "speed-up" and improve the process moving forward.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Could Do Better If...

Last week, I met with our Directors and Managers. It is amazing when I look around to many new faces and many people who have taken on a new or expanded role within the organization. On this day, we discussed the support they needed. One person brought up a challenge many of us face - how to prioritize things when you have fewer staff than you need, you have a lot of meetings and you still need to "get your work done". The conversation shifted to needed more staff, capital and other equipment. So we started to discuss how could we help each other while still helping our organization meet it's goals so we continue to sustain and expand our efforts.

After giving it more thought, we will continue to have this discussion on a regular basis. Ideally, we want to keep sparking those innovative ideas or ideas that frankly just simplify the way we do things. We want to continue to foster that ownership and entrepreneurial spirit.

On Thursday, I attended the Missouri Hospital Association's Annual conference. Richard Teerlink, the former CFO of Harley Davidson discussed how Harley went from a fledgling company to essentially one of the most existing motorcycles around. They focused on the "experience" of their customers. Obviously, the riders were the final customers but they bought their motorcycles through the dealers. Richard and the Harley executives focused on the dealer's experience and made sure their Engineers spent a significant amount of time with the riders to understand their experience. Through both avenues, the company found innovative things the dealers and riders were doing. Harley was able to shape the way they made the motorcycles through the continued engagement of dealers and riders. I enjoyed one of his quotes stating, "Create an operating environment allowing people to to great things on a daily basis." He went on to share that all employees needed a forums (e.g., department meetings, discussions with colleagues, one on one meeting with their manager) to say, "I could do better if..."

Another speaker stated that there is lots of opportunity out there. We will always need and ask for more staff and equipment but we can not wait. We need to do what we can today, tomorrow and next year with the resources we have and that includes coming up with new or simplified ways of doing this. Then align your daily efforts (both personally and professionally) with big goals and big dreams.

My takeaway was to make sure we continue to look for ways to work better together and challenge the way we do things now to make things better for the future. Fire up that entrepreneurial spirit. I look forward to hearing your innovative ideas and/or the ways you have simplified things you are doing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"In Your Shoes" - Intensive Care Unit

This morning I was humbled once again as I was "In Your Shoes" on our Intensive Care Care Unit. I served as an Aide and worked for my boss Val W, Registered Nurse. She put me to work pretty quickly - after the initial shock and "recommended" assignments came from physicians and other staff members.

First I started out helping her move our patient so we could clean him. As an Aide I was allowed to help clean his mouth and remove a peripheral IV line (my boss walked me through both). I know it may seem easy and obvious to some however I was very nervous and my trembling hands made that obvious. Once the nerves settled, I was on my way serving as a better Aide. For those of you who may not know (and yes it was explained to me)...

A peripheral IV line consists of a short catheter (a few centimeters long) inserted through the skin into a peripheral vein (any vein that is not inside the chest or abdomen). Any accessible vein can be used although arm and hand veins are used most commonly, with leg and foot veins used to a much lesser extent. On infants the scalp veins are sometimes used (source: answers.com and Val W., Registered Nurse).
One patient just had surgery and was bragging about the pillow made by one of our Volunteers (we have a Sewing Committee and they make pillows and many other items for our patients to use). This same patient asked if I would give her some ice chips. One went into her mouth and another chip fell down her shoulder and back. The next time she asked if she could give herself some ice. I asked if it was due to my last incident of the ice falling onto her. "She laughed and said, "don't be a pri....." Again, very rewarding and humbling at the same time to do "In Your Shoes". Clearly she was starting to feel better! I look forward to hearing some of your stories.