business

NursetopiaMashupCroppedI’m forever saving articles, hoarding items in my RSS feed, favoring tweets, and emailing myself with items to look up. I’m never short of reading material, and many times I am overloaded with information that is just collecting electronic dust. This week I cleaned out my inbox and other online warehouses. Here’s some of the eclectic information I reviewed recently:

Am I the only one that does this? Surely not. What great reading is lurking in the electronic piles you keep?

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photo-27I spent the majority of last week at a training about lean tools and concepts. At the beginning of the class, the instructor asked how many people volunteered for the class as opposed to how many were “voluntold” to attend the class. I was definitely a volunteer for the class, seeking it out to learn more about my organization’s use of these lean concepts, and I thoroughly enjoyed the class.

I had an entire class on operational efficiencies in graduate school, but it wasn’t tailored to health care, and there were few examples that I could extrapolate at the time as most of my colleagues were heavily focused on mechanical industries. I have always been drawn to systems and processes, though, and I now see more of that graduate class influenced my current work than I previously realized. After the lean class, I now have very clear examples of lean work in health care, formalized and workable tools, and terms to go along with current work. I nerded out the entire time; it was a blast.

After the course, I borrowed Everything I Know About Lean I Learned in the First Grade, written by Robert O. Martichenko, from the instructing department’s lending library. It caught my eye simply because it looked like an easy and intriguing read. And it definitely is.

Even after 28 hours of lean training, the book delivered easy to understand concepts and examples to further bolster my lean learning. It was fun to see lean principles at work in an elementary school, and I know I will think about many of the examples as I walk through my children’s school in the future. Complete with illustrations, brief paragraphs, and summary sections, the book is an easy two-hour read that will get you thinking about lean principles everywhere in business, no matter the industry.

Two complexly simple themes throughout the book are:

  • Lean is not about tools; lean is about thinking. 
  • ‘Why’ is more important than ‘how.’ 

I am going to keep chewing on these and keep them at the forefront of my mind. Overall, this is a quick and thought-provoking read. You should check it out.

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NursetopiaMashupCroppedHere’s a little of what I’ve been reading recently:

What has taken your attention lately?

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Do You Care Enough to Know Their Names?

by Nursetopia on January 22, 2014

Poor_TellMeTheirNames_Nursetopia

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MashupSundays are lovely days. They “refill my tank” in many ways – spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I seem to “catch up” on a lot of things on Sundays, with reading being one of those. If you’re looking for some interesting bite-sized readings today, here’s a little bit of what I’ve been filling my head with lately:

What about you? What caught your attention this week?

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Slow Progress is Still Progress

by Nursetopia on January 17, 2014

Slow. Slooow. Slooooooooooow. Like a snail moving-in-molasses-on-a-cold-day slow. It’s painful. Especially to those who are accustomed to quick movements, stealth flow, and instant responses. It’s almost unbearable. And, yes, for some, it’s definitively unbearable and they must move on to save themselves. Adapt or die. This is true for the brain, as well.

I get that. I understand it. I know the feeling. I like strategic, quick moves and results. I enjoy bouncing from completed initiative to completed initiative. I really love seeing a strategic plan for a project in retrospect, and I’m one of those people that tend to push others to accomplish what seem like unrealistic deadlines and goals within tenuous timeframes. Funny thing – people end up reaching those deadlines and goals and astounding themselves…but I digress…

There are times when stealth just won’t cut it. The “yesterday” deadline is [yawn] over-rated, and the only way success is measured is inch-by-oh-my-save-me-this-is-painful-inch and moment-by-Really?-I-feel-like-I’ve-been-at-this-forever-moment. On more than one occasion in my career, I have had to readjust my pace for the health and well-being of my team.   Sometimes I slowed down, and other times my team acknowledged it was ready to pick up the pace. In all matters, the organization, the programs, the quality of patient care propelled forward. Fast or slow. Why?

Because progress is progress. While it can be mentally strenuous for leaders, sometimes slow and steady is necessary and ends up leap-frogging others who traveled at break-neck speed. “Haste makes waste,” anyone?

Have you ever lived this lesson?

Copyright ant.photos via Flickr Copyright ant.photos via Flickr

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It’s a silly mistake, but leaders make it everyday – overlooking people for a position simply because the applicant lacks experience. I know because I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve also experienced this mistake as an applicant, as well.

Sure, experience is important, especially for some roles. Experience brings wisdom and know-how and can develop a program or a business quickly. But many times, a role can offer experience to a candidate, a candidate with passion and potential.

Right after I finished graduate school for my MSN and MBA many years ago, I applied for an open nurse manager position in the hospital I had been working in for three years. The hospital had grown me as a new nurse, my unit leader had done everything in her power to make me a success, working with me and my grad-school, growing-family schedule to ensure patient care was covered and I had a full paycheck. The management role wasn’t a specialty stretch for me, but when I spoke with the assistant chief nursing officer about the position, in an informal interview, she told me I didn’t have enough experience to manage a nursing unit. She really did discourage me rather than validate my passion and work ethic to dive deep into the information and personally grow while developing the organization and people around me.

As it turned out, that was a shaping moment and likely one of the best things that could happen to me. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. Shortly thereafter, I moved to a new city, and ended up leading a statewide program for the Texas Nurses Association that catapulted my career and developed me as a leader in many ways. I had absolutely no experience leading such a program. But, the executive director, the team, and the entire organization took a chance on me, looking at my past patterns of initiative and hearing my passion. Thankfully; I owe much of who I am as a nurse leader to them.

I think about both of these instances when I look at resumes/applications and interview people. Experience is great, but if I interview someone with experience and they don’t have passion or drive, I quickly turn my attention to other applicants.

Potential is often just as important as experience yet frequently overlooked. If you regularly hire people, how do you manage the experience-versus-potential balance?

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In Retrospect: 2013′s ‘One Word’

by Nursetopia on December 31, 2013

Each year I select one word to help focus me. Here’s my hindsight reflections of my 2011 one word and my 2012 one wordIt’s amazing how the one word threads throughout the months, frightening sometimes. I guess that’s the purpose and should be expected as I think of the word continuously, right?

NewMy one word for 2013 was “new.” I was extremely excited about the obvious word for the New Year. Indeed, “new” dominated my life in 2013. I read (or listened to) numerous new books, including completing a long-time favorite and honored book in a shortened timeframe, which was a goal of mine. I enjoyed several new recipes, including learning to bake bread. My husband and I instituted a new rule for our date nights; we had to go to a new restaurant each and every date night out. It made for some of our best dates, and now it is a permanent rule for us, which has been incredibly fun for our rut-prone, eat-the-same-thing-every-time selves. I wrote a lot of new poetry; some of my favorites this year are Greater ThanPainting CareWhen Leaders Cry, and MissingI made several new, free, printable cards for anyone to have and use; some of my most-loved ones are Seek-And-Find Customizable Nursing AppreciationDon’t StopTriple-Threat Nurse, and No Wonder Nursing Uniforms Had CapesI had two new bosses within the year, one expected and one unexpected. I was invited to join a #BCSM Twitter chat as an expert panelist, which was incredibly fun, and I also served as the Oncology Nursing Society’s 38th Annual Congress Chair, which was, without a doubt, an experience of a lifetime. And after living in our new home – our first-owned home – for only a year (yes, one year!!and just months after we newly painted and developed the space just for us, we sold our home, moved to a new city, and I started a new job – a great opportunity and tremendous responsibility to hire much of a new team and open a new cancer center.

Whew. 

New is great. What I didn’t really think through at the beginning of the year, though, was that new always – always - comes right after change. [gulp] Now, I’m not typically scared of change, which is a good thing, but a lot of change and a lot of new definitely make for stressful and scary times. 2013 has felt like a roller coaster in many, many ways.

I’m ready for 2014, complete with a new word and all, which I will share tomorrow! Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

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The Most Formidable Teacher: Experience

by Nursetopia on December 30, 2013

She’s one tough teacher. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can learn from her substitute, which regularly teaches everyone else. At the board – exposed, in front of the class – you won’t ever forget her lessons, though. Oh no. Rarely does she have to re-explain herself, and when she does – lookout; her repeat exams are just downright brutal. There is no curve, and every question matters. If you don’t know the answer, you better find out, and yes, there are such things as “stupid questions.” You’re going to want to commit her suggested revisions to memory. There will be a pop quiz when you least expect it.

[Sigh]

Can school please be over now? What? No winter vacation? Maybe if I just avoid eye contact she won’t call on me.

Oh. Crap.

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Hooray for the holidays! And a little bit of downtime to lay back, spend time with loved ones, and peruse the news. Here’s some of what I’ve been checking out these days:

What have you been reading this holiday season?

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