Making it personal

One of the most rewarding aspects of working with diverse healthcare organizations across the country is the opportunity to learn from so many talented, dedicated professionals. The insights and inspirations I witness are personally gratifying – and enormously beneficial to the other client organizations I work with.
Recently I had the good fortune to meet and learn from Pedro Ceniza, RN, a dedicated assistant director of nursing at Jacobi Medical Center in The Bronx. I was rounding with Mr. Ceniza during the evening/night shift to identify and better understand some of the unique struggles and opportunities to improve the patient experience on the third “tour.” The best practice I observed had nothing to do with the night tour specifically.
As we rounded on the seven large medical/surgical units throughout the house, I watched as something special happened as we walked on each floor. Mr. Ceniza greeted each staff member by name and introduced them to me. Nurses, techs, housekeepers – he knew them all personally. And he wasn’t simply reading the name badges. In fact, he pointed out to several staff members that their badge was not clearly visible.
I didn’t actually count, but there were easily 10-15 staff members on each of the units we visited. That night, I’m sure, was not unique. So when you do the math, you quickly realize that Mr. Cineza has a personal connection with hundreds of staff members throughout the house.
As we finished our rounds, I commented on how impressed – and heartened – I was that he knew everyone we encountered by name. He humbly smiled and said, “When I step onto a unit, I want all of the staff members to be drawn to me, not to scatter.”
And in that moment, I came to appreciate another meaningful way for leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of their rounding. When you step onto a unit, are staff drawn to you – or do you have to flush them out to have “purposeful” conversations? Their reaction speaks volumes about whether they feel supported – or intimidated – by our efforts to be more visible.