At Your Service

Ever show up at a new location for an important event or meeting, maybe a new city, say a hotel or large office building, and your first response is: “Where am I, and where do I go?”

I certainly have (unfortunately that is happening to me even when I go to an old location!).

No map or sign ever seems to be good enough to navigate, although I do like instructions like “follow the yellow arrow.” 

Isn’t it great when someone takes the time to direct you and escort you to where you need to go?

Coming to a large, hospital in an unfamiliar city to navigate your way through an already complex System, is … quite frankly, overwhelming.

As we work toward making it simple to get around a very large institution like Henry Ford Hospital, we have learned from the hotel industry that there is no substitute for a person to help patients through an anxiety.

Regardless of where you’re traveling, it is not uncommon to be assisted by a concierge team when checking into your hotel. You may be greeted by a concierge member who shares with you any necessary information you may need for your stay and he or she is available at any time to answer your questions and concerns.

When coming to a new hospital and clinic, this type of service is vital to lessen the stress and make sure the patient and family can concentrate on the medical issues and return to health.

I was given the opportunity to shadow Delise Baker, one of Henry Ford Hospital’s concierge members  from the Referring Physician’s Office.

With approximately 40 percent of outstate growth patients coming to the hospital from more than 35 miles away, this is not only an added customer service amenity for our patients – it’s a necessity. Continue reading

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Transporting Service Excellence

Whether it’s an inpatient arriving for an x-ray or CT scan, or a patient coming in for a routine clinic appointment, getting patients comfortably and safely from Point A to Point B is a vital component of the patient care experience at Henry Ford Hospital.

And if you’ve seen our team of patient transporters in action, you know it’s not an easy job.

Give it a try someday.

From moving a patient safely out of bed, to negotiating too narrow doorways, to maneuvering beds, gurneys or wheelchairs through the maze of corridors and crowded hallways, all while keeping the patient calm and relaxed and ensuring the patient receives a smooth and timely ride to the next destination in their treatment of care.

Have you ever tried just walking through the main hallway during the lunch hour or walking the patient floors during the height of morning patient care and rounding?

Imagine trying to weave through that crowd with a patient, equipment and a gurney.

The job of a patient transporter is essential to the everyday activity of clinicians too.

That’s why I wanted to highlight the important (and at times overlooked) role of the patient transporter, by taking a walk in the shoes of Willard Robinson.

Willard has been with the System for more than 20 years. He’s also someone I consider a “legacy employee,” because his mother also worked many years for the hospital.

Like many of our employees, Willard goes out of his way to ensure he not only does his job, but puts his patients first. Continue reading

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Walk in My Shoes: Celebrating Nurses Week

This week, the nation is celebrating the nursing profession and the countless talented, hardworking and compassionate nurses who provide care to those in need.

To express my appreciation and gratitude to the nurses at Henry Ford Hospital, I thought it would be fitting to have a Walk in My Shoes dedicated to nurses.

So I decided to shadow not one, but three nurses: one inpatient, one outpatient and one intensive care unit.

My experience began with Vince Lehmann, R.N., nurse manager of the Pain Clinic, who invited me to his unit to visit patients and see him in action.

The patients in the Pain Clinic often are frequent visitors, which is reflected in the patient/caregiver relationship. I especially enjoyed talking to a patient who had only positive things to say about the Pain Clinic team.

Vince stressed the importance of the patient/caregiver relationship within the clinic and consequently, the ability to effectively manage service recovery .

Vince’s responsibilities don’t end there. He also does the scheduling, marketing, education, policy development and standardization of processes across all Henry Ford Pain Clinics. Even with his busy schedule, he always makes time to deliver great patient care.

Next up was Bob Stine, R.N., charge nurse of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. A 40-bed unit, Bob has a multitude of responsibilities, including managing the beds in the unit, determining which beds are open, and which patients need to be transferred.

In the time I spent with him, I was able to meet a variety of his teammates, including case managers, physicians, residents and nurses. It is clear that Bob’s ability to communicate effectively with his team is imperative to patient care. Continue reading

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Dr. Clean: Shadowing an OR Custodian

If there’s one thing that Walk in My Shoes proves, it’s that every one of our employees at Henry Ford Hospital plays an important role in patient care. Not to mention, it really highlights what an incredibly talented and customer service-orientated team we have here.

This time around, I had the opportunity to shadow one of our dedicated operating room custodians, Katrina Walker.

Wasting no time, Katrina put me to work.

Mop in hand, Katrina showed me the proper cleaning techniques used in the OR. (I just hope my wife doesn’t see this and get any ideas).

In all seriousness, I hope everyone understands how hard this work is, physically demanding, on your feet, and orchestrating all the activities to keep the operating room flowing.

Similar to the actual surgeries, each case is treated differently, with different equipment and techniques used to clean each time. Katrina and her team religiously scrub each room for infection control purposes, giving repetitive attention to each crevice and necessary detail.

Not only do I admire Katrina’s dedication and spirit, but also the pure speed and efficiency at which she is able to work.

Did you know the custodians only have 3 to 5 minutes to turn over a room in the OR? Continue reading

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Eat This, Not That: Shadowing a Henry Ford Hospital Dietitian

It’s no secret that health and wellness is a hot topic of discussion, especially on Doc in the D.  Seems like a lot more of our employees and others are becoming more “engaged” in establishing new and healthy habits. 

So I thought it would be interesting to walk in the shoes of an expert who deals directly with health, wellness and one of our favorite topics on this blog…food.

I recently shadowed Rebecca Trepasso, a registered dietitian at Henry Ford Hospital, who cares for some of our sickest patients in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.

Rebecca is another great example of Henry Ford employees – committed, professional, expert and funny.

(I still am working on convincing her that pizza does have all major food groups represented and truly is the perfect food.  Once I do that, it is on to Buffalo wings and fries.)

But seriously…

Rebecca works daily with patients to educate them on their dietary needs and how to best follow the dietary plan created by their health care team.

She’s also a preceptor in the Henry Ford Hospital Dietetic Internship Program, mentoring promising students within the Dietary Department.

During our time together, Rebecca showed me how she uses information technology in caring for her patient case load, the many processes and steps she goes through daily to educate her patients, and how she supports students.

But her work doesn’t end there. Continue reading

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Walk Down Memory Lane

I have been fortunate enough to walk in the shoes of some of our outstanding employees, and as a result, have gotten to know many of them.

During my most recent Walk in My Shoes experience, I was able to visit an old friend and colleague, O’Neal Sanders.

O’Neal is a respiratory therapist with 40 years of experience and knowledge at Henry Ford Hospital. For years, I walked alongside O’Neal as a pulmonary physician, but never truly “walked” in his shoes. I was curious as to what keeps him passionate about his job, what he does every day, and how things have changed in his profession.

Not surprisingly, O’Neal is just as passionate about his job today as he was 40 years ago.

While it feels like just yesterday when we battled as young men on the basketball court, it was obvious how much respiratory therapy has changed over the years.

The technology has expanded tremendously, allowing for safer and more efficient ways to treat the patient.

Respiratory therapists are now able to help patients with life support, using novel inhaled treatments like nitric oxide and helium, newer forms of mechanical ventilation, airway management and breathing treatments, among many other things.

Despite these changes, O’Neal has taught both the students he interacts with on a daily basis, as well as his colleagues, the importance of listening to the patient. Continue reading

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Ride in My Shoes: Shadowing a Henry Ford Police Officer

Not long ago, I spent some time walking in the shoes of Richard Ford, an electrician at Henry Ford Hospital who handles everything from keeping the music playing in the hallways to maintaining our overhead paging and fire systems.

This time around, I spent some time “riding” in the shoes of John Snitgen, a dedicated police officer who has worked at Henry Ford Hospital for more than 10 years.

John and our entire security team are responsible for keeping our hospital campus safe, and I learned more about some of the complexities our police officers face.

And they’re doing a great job: Thanks to our police officers, the crime rates on our campus are similar to or lower than reported crime rates in many suburban cities, such as downtown Birmingham.

Continue reading

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“Undercover Boss” Is Something Every CEO Should Do (Minus The Disguise)

If you could walk in anyone’s shoes, who’s would it be?

When asked that question, I bet a good percentage of the population would pick their favorite celebrity, or somebody they have yet to meet.

While there is nothing wrong with wanting to shadow the crazy lives of Jay- Z, Lady Gaga or George Clooney (personally, I’d like to follow the life of Dr. Dre, given our professional kinship), the television show “Undercover Boss” gives this concept a meaningful twist.

In “Undercover Boss,” we see leadership literally step into the shoes of their employees to see what an average day is like at their company – the challenges, the rewards, the areas for improvement.

It’s really an intriguing concept – something that every CEO could do, regardless of their field (but perhaps without the fake mustaches and other disguises).

It’s something that I’ve just begun to do at Henry Ford Hospital.

Continue reading

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