2-Year Anniversary, Part 1: Celebrating What We’ve Accomplished

 

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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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The Power of Habit

How’s that New Year’s resolution going so far? Still carrying those extra 10, 15 or 20 pounds?

Certainly, if we resolve to do something and put all of our effort behind it, we should be able to do it, right? This type of “free will” is a great part of our traditional view of how we change or conduct our lives and business.

Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that.

I recently read an opinion piece by David Brooks in the New York Times that highlighted a book written by Charles Duhigg called “The Power of Habit.” In the book, Duhigg, who’s also a reporter at the Times, explores research about how our habits determine our actions.

As much as we think free will overcomes all, much of our actions and behaviors are driven by unconscious habits. Duhigg notes that researchers at Duke University calculated that 40% of our actions are governed by habit, not by conscious decisions.

So much for free will!

According to Brooks’ article, researchers have also come to know the structure of habits. Cue, routine, reward is how habits become ingrained.

Duhigg highlights several examples of how people have learned to replace bad habits with good ones, or create new habits.

From the routine use of toothpaste to football coaches creating practice drills to Starbucks baristas, creation of habits will dictate how one responds to a situation even more quickly and routinely.

Changing your neural network not merely based on forming routine or common triggers. These are instead fortified by emotions and strong desires, like the commitment to a higher purpose or gaining admiration.

What does this have to do with Henry Ford Hospital? 

We are going through a world class service training exercise called by the mnemonic, AIDET (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, Thanks).

The habit that we wish to create is a common greeting and dialogue that forms the basis of our service culture.

I have heard from many that say they already do this in their patient interactions. Me too, except sometimes I do A, I and E, or I, D and T, but not the habit of routinely doing all the elements. I have a hunch you are no different. Continue reading

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It’s the Little Things (and the Routine Things) That Count

Every day I hear a patient care story at Henry Ford Hospital that absolutely inspires me and fills me with pride. 

Henry Ford Hospital teams work to bring water into the hospital during the August 2003 power outage.

These are often heroic efforts of clinical expertise and team work, with many of our people working against all odds to perform care that saves a patient from what appears to be an impossible situation. These “miracles on the Boulevard” seem almost routine.

Times of crisis also seem to bring out the best in Henry Ford. 

I noticed this years ago when we lost electricity on Campus on two occasions. 

You could not have had a group of people working together more incredibly to overcome not only the obstacles of minimum electrical power, but the even greater challenges of inadequate water so needed for thirst and cleanliness.

I sit back in awe of our people at these times.

Where do we falter?

What is remarkable is that when we fail, it is in the little things or the routine things that we need to perform on a daily basis. The concentrated efforts and energy during a crisis do not always translate as well to our daily tasks.

Not that it is easy to have these bursts of focus at all times. 

As a physician once told me, you can sprint for periods, but you can’t run a marathon by sprinting. It takes a different approach and mindset.

Much of health care is a marathon. Repetitive, frequent, routine, if you will. 

No fan fare in our employee newsletter and no flurry of congratulatory emails on a remarkable effort.

Our true business challenge is to relentlessly focus on day-to-day patient care and to do it as well as it can be done.  It is the most important element to ensure our success as a hospital.

Yet these daily acts – the ones that we must do – count just as much as all of our photo-op moments.  Continue reading

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