management

Mess with a Good Thing

by Nursetopia on August 28, 2014

Why mess with a good thing?

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

Our system works. 

But can it be better? When is the last time any part of the system has been improved? Does it function optimally for everyone involved – a win-win? Are you thinking about potential disruptors? Do you have the market disruption to propel everyone forward?

There is always room for improvement. Always.

Mess with a good thing.

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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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HelloImFreshMeatRNHigh fives. Handwritten notes with excited scribbles. Eyes that smile. Exhalation of “We’re so glad you’re here. We’ve been wanting to work with you!” Emails from providers joining in arrival chorus. Starbucks on the last day of your first week (e.g. “You made it, and you did great!”). Special access to team-member-only inside jokes. Oodles of system-branded gifts because, “Well, you’re one of us, now.” A planned orientation that screams, “We’ve been expecting you for a while, and we’ve got you covered.” Expectations singing clarity and professional growth. Already-set check-in meetings to let you know you’ll be supported throughout your orientation (and beyond), providing reassurance in all the newness. Leaders who have recurring service anniversaries already on their calendars before leaving day one. Sincerity and invitation rather than exhaustion and exasperation.

What if we welcomed new nurses, physicians, medical lab technicians, and all other health care colleagues to the profession, to our units, to our health care systems in this way?

How do you welcome new team members?

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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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Oh my goodness. I am so glad one of my friends shared the Tumblr #WhatShouldWeCallNursing with me. I know Nurses Week is supposed to be all wonderful and full of appreciation – and believe me – it was, but I am pretty sure the universe conspired against me last week saying, “Yeah, I know you’ve been a nurse for a while and particularly love this week. Let’s see how you handle this; tell me now if you still love nursing. Mwuuuaaaaahhhhhaaaahaaaaaa!” At least that’s how it felt. Seriously…tough week.

So, when my friend shared #WhatShouldWeCallNursing, I cried from laughter (and thankfully not due to my week…although that would absolutely come later in the week, unfortunately). I’ve been back to the Tumblr I don’t know how many times, and I end up laughing out loud among people who just stare at me.

I don’t care. It’s that funny. Check it out. 

Thanks to the awesome, anonymous nurse who continues to take suggestions from the nursing community for ongoing posts. I love it so much, I included a few gif’s that pertain to my nursing world…

When a meeting gets cancelled just minutes before it starts:

When people ask me if I sit at a desk all day as a nurse director:

When my staffing works out:

When my new positions are approved for hiring:

When someone says they didn’t receive any information sent out multiple times over the course of six weeks regarding the mandatory training due in one day.

Have a great week!

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Thinking Through My Leadership Manifesto

by Nursetopia on April 16, 2014

I have the privilege of learning alongside some amazing nurses. Recently we briefly talked about how what we believe influences our leadership styles and, thus, everything we do. So, it’s important to really know what it is you believe in. It made me pause, and for the next several days I really thought about what I believe as an individual and leader – to be more aware.

I believe in the triune God and the God-breathed Word, which guides my life and work. My beliefs may be divergent from others’, which should not change the way I provide care. Yet, my work and actions should be different in many ways, reflecting foundational Christian principles that undergird my life.

I believe as a leader, I am the ultimate example for my team. I must role model the way.

I believe that in healthcare, everything comes down to and revolves around people. Every. Thing. I must remember that with each decision.

I believe frontline team members are the largest source of solutions to current problems.

I believe professionals are adults and should be treated as such.

I believe that while difficult to develop and maintain, diversity is vital to the health of a team, an organization, and the final service or product.

I believe failure is not final; it should be celebrated and learned from rather than feared and avoided.

I believe the majority of people want control over their work, clear expectations, and room to autonomously shake the world.

I believe I must give the same opportunities and lessons to those around me that others have graciously and generously given me.

I believe thank you’s never get old and cannot be said enough.

I believe curiosity and inquiry are welcome aspects to any organization.

I believe the work environment should be so amazing that people are banging down the doors and waiting on lists for the opportunity to join the team.

I believe continuous learning is a requirement, not an option.

I believe collaboration is worth the effort.

Beliefs can change over time, a member of the group pointed out. She’s right. What do you deeply believe that influences each aspect of your work?

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MashupMy reading list is filling back up again, and I’m absolutely loving it. I’m squeezing in chapters here and there, and you better believe free moments in between meetings and snippets of downtime have their fair share of bit-sized information and education. Here’s a little of what’s been passing through my brain lately:

What are you reading these days?

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Administering A Dose of Gratitude

by Nursetopia on March 4, 2014

It’s easy to point out the wrong in health care. It’s all around us. Despite the brokeness, there are dozens hundreds of processes and moments that do work well.

Praise is limited for the on-time surgery with appropriate and accurate “time-outs;” reconciled instrument counts; providers utilizing the just-in-time stocked supplies that took months to pare down without impacting patient outcomes and negotiating sustainable contracts; post-operative nurses who self-scheduled to improve their own satisfaction while curbing rising staffing costs; pharmacy technicians who verify drug counts remain consistent from shift to shift and unit to unit; health information management teams who adequately code and bill for procedures as they weed through  hundreds of thousands of data points; lab team members that quickly, efficiently, and safely process pathology specimens as dozens of  additional patient body fluids and tissues whiz through the system; leaders who make time for people despite the tug of tasks; and on and on.

q4PRN

 

Everyday health care has its awful moments. In no way am I trying to minimize healthcare errors; they’re catastrophic – even fatal – in our industry. Yet, for every one of those you-didn’t-do-this-right notifications, there are myriad more wow-that-worked-awesomely instances.

 

 

Gratitude is potent no matter the route. What’s important is that it’s actually administered.

 

 

 

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I’ve been catching material whenever I get a spare moment here and there. Here’s a few bite-sized chunks of what I’ve been reading lately.

What about you? What are you reading these days?

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Give Grace to Grow

by Nursetopia on January 23, 2014

Grace. 

It’s a beautiful word. I use it a lot in health care – to talk about professionals in their work in addition to encouraging professionals as they learn. We live and work in an immediate culture. We have to have and do and be everything – all at once – now. It seems as though there is little to no time given to individuals to learn these days, and I mean this as an expectation from both the teacher/supervisor as well as the learner. We set unrealistic expectations of ourselves and demand that we know everything on day one.

I know because I am the same way.

I picked up a phrase, a philosophy, really, from my brother-in-law, a pastor, about a decade ago. He always used to say, “Give people grace to grow,” meaning we all make mistakes, and we all learn from our mistakes; allow people to have time to make mistakes and learn from them. This has deep spiritual meaning for me in the workplace – in health care – today, and I frequently tell this to team members as they are orienting or learning a new system or process. I whisper it to myself at times, as well.

Grace to grow. Grace to grow. Grace to grow. 

Growth takes time; growth takes patience; growth takes grace. Provide your life with some space – some grace…to grow.

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