By Debra A. Lopez, CRA, FAHRA
November 2009 — I never fail to be impressed by the quality of education offered by the AHRA. I recently attended the fall conference, “New Realities, Challenging Times,” in Nashville, TN. In addition to assisting with introductions and teaching the Basic Management track, I had the opportunity to attend several of the sessions. The classes I attended were outstanding, and I heard that the ones I wasn’t able to attend were equally so.
Julie Lichtenberg, MA, RN, Director of Education and Service Excellence at Provena St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, IL, spoke about “Leader to Employee Rounding for Outcomes.” Many of us are familiar with patient rounding, but the rounding Ms. Lichtenberg described was between manager and supervisors, and supervisors and their direct reports. Rounding with employees improves employee satisfaction, which will lead to patient satisfaction and physician satisfaction. In his book, Results That Last: Hardwiring Behaviors That Will Take Your Company to the Top, Quint Studer teaches that rounding for outcomes is a skill set that engages staff and customers. It achieves multiple results. It increases staff retention, improves operational efficiency, and encourages quicker action on performance issues. It enables leaders to play offense, not defense. Lichtenberg explained that there are 3 steps to rounding: pre-rounding, rounding, and post-rounding.
In pre-rounding, the employee is notified, in writing, that the supervisor will be rounding with the individual and a date and time is provided. This step is designed to reduce an employee’s anxiety, and gives the employee time to think about the questions that will be covered in the rounding interview. These questions may include:
1. What is working well?
2. What employees, departments, and physicians do we need to recognize?
3. Are there any systems that need improvement?
4. Do you have the tools and equipment to do your job?
5. Is there anything I can help you with right now?
6. Is there anything that is preventing you from providing safe care?
During the pre-rounding time period, supervisors should be educating themselves about employees they will be rounding with. They may want to talk to employee leads and/or physicians they work with and review their attendance records. This information will help prepare the supervisor to recognize an employee’s achievements, as well as areas that may need to be worked on.
Once the rounding date is scheduled, it is important to keep the appointment. Use active listening skills, and make sure you are not interrupted during the meeting. Review what was discussed during the last rounding period, and mention at least one of the issues the employee brought up during the previous rounding session. This will show the employee that leadership takes concerns seriously. Go through each of the questions listed on the pre-rounding letter. When the employee brings up an issue or concern, assure him or her that you will do your best to resolve it.
In post-rounding, the supervisor should review all the issues discussed in the rounding meeting, identify systems that need improvement, and identify any tools or equipment needs. Working with the department leadership team, action plans should be created regarding identified issues, and employees identified by peers as high performers should be recognized and rewarded.
On another note, fall is in full swing. Even in California some of the foliage changes color. The approaching smell of Halloween is in the air. It is hard to describe, but I am sure that others may know the smell I am talking about . . . a mix of fall leaves and smoke from household fireplaces. How many of you remember the days when we performed x-rays on bags of candy collected by trick-or-treaters? Between injured partygoers and the bags of candy, it was always a busy night! Unfortunately, I radiographed many a fallen pirate, ballerina, ghost, hobo, and witch in those days!
AHRA Department: Rapid Review
Hometown: Northborough, MA
Family: I am very close to my family, my mother lives about 1000 miles away in Tennessee. I have 2 brothers and I am the middle child. Also, I am getting ready to start a family of my own: I am expecting my first child in the spring!
School: Dean College and Anna Maria College
Areas of Concentration: Accounting
Interests: The New England Patriots, animals, salt water taffy, reading, music, snow storms, Sham-wow commercials, reality TV
Deb Lopez, CRA, FAHRA is President of the 2009-2010 AHRA Board of Directors. She lives in San Jose, CA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.