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Michigan Medicine

A Minute with Marschall

Rounding out the day (click here to see more)

November 4th, 2019

Over the past couple of months, I have had the opportunity to join the adult hospital leadership team on their weekly rounds to visit surgery unit 8E and CVC5. Although I don’t do it as often as I’d like, I think there is great value in meeting with our care providers and support service staff who deliver the finest care every day. It’s a chance not only to hear about individual, team and unit experiences, but also to learn something more about what lies at the heart of Michigan Medicine.

The visit to both units brought to me a deeper understanding of the compassion and dedication of our care providers. Several things in particular stand out:

When the entire unit is rowing together, everyone (including patients) is happier. One of the nurses talked about the unique climate of the unit, where each person feels that they have each other’s backs. Having worked in many different units across the hospital over the last 20 years, this nurse felt the climate created by blurring the lines of “your job” vs. “my job” was far better than focusing on who should be responsible. If a patient or a colleague needs help, we should do the right thing in the moment, even if it’s not in our job description.

Another nurse raised a concern about how we handle specific drugs. It struck me, having taken my Universal Skills training recently, that this was an excellent example of speaking up for safety. It takes courage to do this, and I was very impressed that so quickly some of the early training around high reliability is in practice. The response from leadership to the drug concern was also received appropriately, and in turn escalated through the right channels in pharmacy.

Finally, a nurse director talked to us about his approach to handling very challenging or difficult instances with patients. If a bedside nurse was not feeling comfortable with the situation, the nurse director was quick to step and intervene, to assess the situation from the patient’s standpoint but, importantly, also from the standpoint of the bedside nurse. It’s an opportunity to prevent uncomfortable or potentially dangerous interactions for our front-line care providers. It was very clear to me that teamwork and situation awareness made this unit row together.

One of the best parts of my job is to see first-hand how committed and devoted our employees are to our patients, families and each other. Even the smallest gestures of compassion can yield the largest rewards.