A Commitment to Communication- BWH Bulletin - For and about the People of Brigham and Women's Hospital
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July 3, 2003
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In This Issue:
A Commitment to Communication
One Good Turn Deserves Another
BWHers Benefit from Innovative Training Program
Countdown to JCAHO
Congratulations to the following BWH graduates:
Getting Into the Yoga Zone
Building Bridges to The Future
New FITCORP Location in The Heart of Boston’s Financial District
Reminder: BT Cash-Out for Benefits Eligible Employees
Arks-n-Barks: Animal Giftware for People
A New Look for Security Officers
Continuing to directly address the 1999 and 2001 Staff Survey feedback on communication, the 2001 Staff Survey Communication Improvement Team has been working to enhance channels and tools of communication as a way to improve information flow to staff to help them better perform their job at the hospital. According to Martha Pyle Farrell, director, Operational Planning and Program Improvement, although the percentage of staff answering favorably to the Staff Survey questions related to communication increased from 1999 to 2001, room for improvement still exists. In order to enhance communication skills and practices of all employees at BWH, subgroups of the Communication Improvement Team have initiated a number of projects. Equally important to concentrating on the communication among employees is focusing on the communication between employees and customers. The ability to encourage input, provide timely feedback, and communicate change in a dynamic environment or situation are key to both types of interaction. Two of the Communication Improvement Team’s projects involve identifying “Best Practices” in communication at the hospital and improving communication between patients and caregivers.
The Craft of Communication
One of BWH’s “Best Practice” communicators is Senior Manager of Central Transport Services (CTS) Bea Harris-Lane. Much like the CTS main office on Tower L2 is the hub of the department’s activity, Harris-Lane is very much the turnkey of the department’s communication. BWH Bulletin caught up with this 37-year employee to find out the secrets to her managerial success. “I have an open door policy,” said Harris-Lane, who admits that the reason why she keeps the department’s transportable radios in her office is so she will be able to have maximum interaction with her staff. “Having the departmental traffic coming through my office is a way for me to have a handle on things and keep connected with my team.” Communicating often and well with her team is critical in CTS, which handles more than 12,000 requests in any given month. “Our 24-hour operation rarely affords me the option to hold off communicating information until a regularly-scheduled meeting. The nature of what we do often calls for immediate communication,” said Harris-Lane. Although the majority of Harris-Lane’s communication takes place on the fly, she does meet with her the CTS supervisors every other Friday. “Bea is a tremendous role model,” said Paul Lohr, one of CTS’ supervisors. “However, Bea is not the person you want to go to lunch with because you’ll never reach the Cafeteria,” he says with a smile as he explains how much business Harris-Lane handles as she bumps into employees in the hallways at BWH.
Lessons in Listening
Intending to help enhance the provider-patient interaction, the pilot “Mindfulness Listening” course was conducted with Nursing leadership in June. Pat Reilly, RN, MS, program manager of Integrative Care at BWH, co-led the three-hour course and developed its curriculum after being contacted by the Communication Improvement Team. Reilly explains that the course is designed to help caregivers be more “present” in their daily interactions with patients. This ability to focus allows the caregiver to enhance patient satisfaction, while improving his or her role as a provider. The course aids staff in better identifying and understanding their internal and external stressors and how those affect their listening and other communication skills. Participants’ feedback on the pilot course is still being evaluated. When that is completed, implementation of the training course with other groups will begin.
The 2001 Staff Survey Communication Improvement Team is co-led by Kris Danna and Sandy Sloane. The team is interested in identifying other "Best Practice" communicators. Help them with this project by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the name(s) of coworkers that you think are effective in their communication practices and explain the reasons why.