Thursday, February 14, 2008

Learning to get the SPIRIT

More in our continuing series on BIDMC SPIRIT, our effort to enhance the work environment for staff throughout the hospital. Here are additional comments from people who have just gone through the train-the trainers training program. You can get a feel for both the excitement and the nervousness.

I really liked seeing how other areas of the hospital worked. It was nice having a hands on view of the hospital. It was a long day. The information was great, and you have to go over the material before you go out to try it but it is a long day and a lot to digest.

The process [for problem solving] is a plus. Being able to step back from the daily rush and think through an effective process. What’s needed is even more disciplines in this group.

What was great was learning how one problem can have implications in many other areas, something I never would have imagined. An issue is that a think we will need a little bit of handholding in our own areas, once this starts … help working through some problems until we are used to it.

Loved the trainers. They knew their subject. They were knowledgeable. I am not clinical and it was so interesting to see the work on the floors.

My worry is about the areas that are the suppliers to many areas. They are very gung ho right now but even in training they are getting lots of calls and I worry about them being overwhelmed. We need to develop supports for them from Day 1. Even now they are joking that “It’s 2:00 – SPIRIT training time – so my pager is about to go off.” We don’t want them to burn out … [Later in conversation same participant offered the following idea …] It would be helpful if some of the observation visits could take place in those supply departments. I think it would send two messages. The first is that it would help them be prepared to respond more effectively to calls re: real time root cause problem solving. Second, it would send the message that this is about you, too. And that’s important.

The positive was that we went out and did real problem solving on the floor. It was insightful. It was nice to see challenges that other areas face. It was a long day.

Getting out was great. We have never done that in our other trainings. Great. I need the bibliography that was mentioned – this is just a total shift for us – plus that list of tools / helpful hints for working with staff on real time problems. My barrier or worry is that problems that need to go to other areas [for investigation / solution development ] may take time, and may hit barriers. We may need to get back together once we start and look at how well that is working and revisit our efforts there.

I’m coming away from this today with real good tools to attack problems. The trainers were great. It’s good subject matter. It’s a long day but you probably have to do it in one day. Actually using the tools was great.

It was great. The best for me was being on my own floor and getting to use the tools from the AM in the afternoon. It helped me see things I was seeing differently, in a way the staff could see and feel as well … very helpful. It did help me to think about the roots of things, about why the problems I am seeing are occurring. To improve it, I would send ahead more background on change management coming in, and make sure we had more tools going out.

I liked having no choice about where I observed. Given my experience here, I wouldn’t have picked to go back to peri-op because I assumed I knew how everything worked. When I got back there of course I realized I didn’t know how it really worked.

What was great was that it was experiential. It fundamentally changes training. Great. Giving everyone one way to think about problem solving would be huge. As awesome a task as it sounds, it is totally worth undertaking. The negative was the eight hours is not enough to equip a manager to do it effectively. We need a log for the process of implementation itself. A place that issues and struggles can be called out and learning shared. A kind of help chain support for how to be better at it.

The diversity of this group was a huge plus. We need more prerequisites coming in. It’s a little loose at the end. Coming out of these trainings the managers are saying “Oh my G-d.” If we think about it, we could come out of the trainings with a clear sense of next steps that may help everyone come out feeling more positively.

This is really exciting. I didn’t know what to expect on the floor. It was easy to identify problems. If we do it, it will be incredible. If we can make it a way of life. The question is how to do this. One key thing we identified today was the issue of when managers are called [in the help chain] and they haven’t been trained yet, it can be worrisome. They might say they know “who” may have messed up and you want to rush to say “ no, no we’re looking for a system issue” … so that’s an issue and it’s hard to create safety in the moment.

The basic tenet of safety is key. Once established they (participants in problem solving) were much more forthcoming.

I was struck that doing this on a busy unit at a busy time, seemed overwhelming. But the more we circled back to staff as they were able to give us a minute the more things did move along. Seemed more possible.

At the start, so many things will be identified. For the first month, how should we prioritize? I am worried we are about to open Pandora’s box here.

One idea I had today that you may hear about is to once a year have a BIDMC Spirit Award. Something really meaningful. And done in a way that doesn’t convey the message that only this SPIRIT achievement counts and yours doesn’t matter …

It’s the issue of training that keeps me up at night. I don’t want to do this [act as trainer] until we are ready for prime time. We may need more support for a longer period from the people who’ve done this during their whole career.

This is my second time [training to be a trainer]. Last Thursday, my worry was the sense our staff have of handing over problems to you to be solved. Today, we scared several people. It was definitely not our intent. It’s just that people who have not yet been to orientation respond in the old way, as if “I did something wrong.” We are really going to have to work on that.

I am worried about tomorrow on my unit. I will talk to them about this experience today. I am not sure they are going to wait until March 1 to call out. It’s a good thing, I know. As they become more used to identifying problems, it will be a real burden to try to keep up and make this work.

There are tremendous tensions building up in the system about how we are going to be able to do this. Stating the obvious to people about these things is really, really important for leaders to do.

I was struck by how important it is to get the managers involved to work the staff, to not “jump the help chain” straight to the staff level. It’s what’s going to make sustainable solutions possible.

True safety comes in the moment, through the work itself. But can we prepare the culture? Can we have the managers understanding that they are important, they are vital, to work toward sustainable solutions?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a former health care worker (lab)I find these comments both eloquent and familiar. The fears they have are quite realistic from my experience, but the hope they have for real change is encouraging. Your challenge will be to sustain the momentum when the nitty-gritty is reached and it just becomes HARD. Please keep us posted as the process evolves.

nonlocal MD