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Michigan Medicine

A Minute with Marschall

Integrity: To Know and Do What is Right

April 9th, 2021

This month we are focusing on our core value of Integrity. Our core value explains it well, using words like courage, truth and transparency to reflect how we can all demonstrate integrity.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting many outstanding people – physicians, leaders, support staff, nurses, technicians, and many others who exhibit great integrity. Although they display these traits, when they’ve been recognized for acting in an honorable way, most often they are surprised by the attention and simply say, “It was the right thing to do.” 

When we consistently set high ethical and moral standards, we instinctively know what is right, and, therefore, doing what is right becomes natural.

Adhering to high standards isn’t new for Michigan Medicine, an institution which has sustained a long reputation for high integrity.

In this last month alone we were named among the World’s Best Hospitals by Newsweek, our medical school earned top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, and received full 8-year reaccreditation from LCME, the body that accredits medical schools. In research, we had two finalists in the annual STAT Madness tournament. Congratulations to everyone for making all this happen!

Let us all remember though, these national and global awards don’t just occur because of a century long reputation. They happen because we continue to build upon our core value of integrity in moments that come naturally to us, when we know it is the right thing to do.

Here are just a few examples that I have heard about recently. They reminded me that it is the little things that make a difference:   

  • Nicole Zabel, R.N. on 7W, continued to stay by the bedside of a patient through a long transplant beyond her normal shift. Her caring and integrity earned her the DAISY Award.
  • Andrea Arlen, compliance manager for the pathology department, saw a dramatic increase in patient testing for COVID-19 specimens due to the pandemic. Since her background included a certified Clinical Laboratory Scientist with experience in Molecular Diagnostics testing, she offered to head back to the laboratory bench to assist with testing.
  • Nurses on the 5A medical surgical unit felt that bullying was occurring and causing staff members to leave so they developed an initiative to diffuse bullying situations, including a code of conduct and tools to promote a positive culture. Positive results were seen and they are now planning a second phase to address pandemic impacts.
  • A multidisciplinary team, led by House Officer Ahmad Abdul-Aziz and Pharmacist Sarah Adie, were concerned that internal medicine residents from the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) doing rotations on the unit may lack confidence to provide quality care for these complex patients. They developed a CICU handbook to improve knowledge and confidence related to several common topics. Follow up surveys indicated improved confidence in care. 
  • During a routine brain scan, MRI Technician Andrea Kaiser astutely recognized a patient with a markedly abnormal condition and called out the concern to the physician. The patient was immediately admitted to the hospital and sent to the ER. The call was very likely lifesaving.
  • A group of Rogel Center researchers, community outreach team members and U-M faculty members surveyed the Middle Eastern North African (MENA) community, identified their specific needs to tailor programs to address health concerns and ultimately improve screening rates for certain cancers. Read, ‘In it for the right reasons’ for more details.         

As an organization, once we all live by our core value of integrity, and begin to share the same value system, we build trust among each other and a stronger foundation for the institution. In other words, doing what is right, and reaching out to one another and the community, helps all of us build and sustain the team. 

How do you demonstrate integrity in your work every day? Do you recognize this value in others? Share your story in the discussion box below.