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Joanne's Journal - Thursday, November 2, 2017

Joanne's Journal - Thursday, November 2, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

Why is employee engagement important? We already know that health care workers play a crucial role in keeping us healthy. Unlike other industries that can potentially address greater demand with automation, the health care industry is filled with roles that rely on empathy and advanced motor skills. In order for employees to give patients and their families what they need, employees need to feel cared about and cared for as well. This is why we are focused on creating a positive work environment, being regarded as a great place to work and making sure employees feel engaged. It is the best way to pay it forward.  

Major teaching hospitals have a particularly strong showing in Best Places to Work awards and recognitions. So what do top hospitals have in common? They are ‘inspiring’ and ‘diverse’ workplaces with top tier research teams and opportunities for advancement. Employees say they’re happy to come to work and describe a “family feel” among coworkers despite the fact that these are extremely large organizations. They also truly live their mission….it is not something that’s just posted on a wall or on paper. Success comes from teamwork, collaboration, innovation, and always doing the right thing even when it is the hardest option.

We have focused on addressing the issues that were highlighted in the 2017 employee engagement survey. We have some work to do! Through our action planning process, we will be working with employees across the system to understand and develop responses to the top issues identified from our survey results. These include:

  1. Staffing levels: Where are the pressure points and what is the best way to address them? What are the retention recruitment issues we need to work on?
  2. Confidence in leadership: Is leadership present and do employees know who our leaders are? How can we be more communicative and transparent about decisions, so people feel they understand where the organization is going and are knowledgeable about what affects Dartmouth-Hitchcock?
  3. Defining who we are: How can we better leverage our mission, vison, and values, making them real and relevant to all team members and using them to drive our decision making?
  4. Communication: Demonstrating “leadership by walking around.” Leaders should be visible in all locations and creating effective two-way communication. Increasing communication in meaningful and proactive ways.
  5. Pay and rewards: Creating transparent pay and benefit programs and establishing career opportunities for employees and providers.

Engaged employees also see the connection between their everyday work and our larger purpose or mission. If you recall from the mission, vision, and values graphic (below) that was in last week’s Joanne’s Journal, “Our People” is the first visual. Meeting our mission is dependent on our people. And, that’s why engagement is first on the list of foundational imperatives.

Mission, Vision, Values graphic

Improving employee engagement benefits our patients and our communities as well. And greater engagement improves quality of our work and our own personal health. Why wouldn’t we make this a major part of our day-to-day operations and longer term strategy? Makes sense to me!

We have already identified some needed actions. As we move forward, we will announce these, as well as planning for additional actions that are underway. For more details on the organization’s action plans for the employee engagement survey, read the first story below from Aimee Giglio, our interim chief human resources officer. And if you have any comments or suggestions about how we can improve employee engagement, please reply to this email or send a note to me at I’d love to hear your opinions.

Our People: Employee Engagement Survey Next Steps

employee engagement graphic

Now that leaders and staff are working on their follow-up action plans from the Employee Engagement Survey results, Aimee Giglio, interim chief human resources officer, answers questions about why the engagement survey and its results are important for Dartmouth-Hitchcock, our employees and the communities we serve.

Q: Why is employee engagement important?

A: As an organization, we should all care about employee engagement. Why? The literature shows that engaged employees have increased levels of job satisfaction, will take positive actions to contribute to the organization’s mission, vision and values and, in health care, we know that employee engagement is directly linked to patient satisfaction. In fact, employee engagement, quality and patient satisfaction are all interconnected. The more engaged a workforce is the healthier and more productive they become.

An employee engagement survey is one way that an organization can measure the relationship between the organization and its employees, as well as local leadership and employees. Now, through our most recent engagement survey data, we feel fortunate to have a better understanding of what matters to our employees and how we can improve at both the organizational and local level.

Q: How are the engagement survey results being shared and acted upon?

A: This past July, the employee engagement survey results were shared with our senior leaders by Press Ganey, our employee engagement and patient satisfaction survey vendor. In early August, we shared the high-level organizational results with our directors and managers and then we held open information sessions where senior leaders presented the results for the organization.

Since August, each report owner has had access to their team’s results. Human Resources has trained over 330 leaders on how to interpret, communicate and take action on their results with their team members. I thank all of you who attended an information session – we had great participation from our employees and leaders alike. Now, it’s time to participate in the action planning process and provide your leaders additional feedback on what is working and what is not working in order for your team to make meaningful improvements. Also, our senior leaders have met about directional goals for the organization. These goals are mentioned above in Dr. Conroy’s message this week and we look forward to learning more from our employees about ways we can work together to improve in these areas.

We need additional feedback in order to make meaningful change. In the coming months, the senior leadership team will be scheduling a series of focus groups – across the system – to further discuss the results and our goals. You will also see senior leaders rounding with employees. I encourage all employees to get to know our leaders and to share feedback – keeping communication channels open is essential to our success. We are all in this together.

We plan to survey the organization again in 2018 with what we are calling “pulse surveys.” These mini-engagement surveys will help us measure whether or not we are making progress with improvement actions. We plan to take another full employee engagement survey in 2019.

Read the full story online.

Cheshire Goes Live with eD-H on November 4

April 2, 2011 will go down in D-H history as a monumental milestone when the organization converted to a new system of electronic medical records (eD-H) in a single day. Now, six years later, Cheshire Medical Center – a D-H affiliate – is making the same historic transition on November 4.

“This go-live for Cheshire is important for the whole D-H system; they are the first of our affiliates to join our enterprise version of the eD-H system, so that we will have one truly shared medical record,” says Peter Solberg, MD, chief health information officer for D-H. “Many of our teams across the D-H system have been helping with preparations for the Cheshire go-live, so I want to thank everyone for their support.”

The Cheshire Medical Center campus migrates to the full suite of eD-H resources at 2 am on Saturday, November 4. In preparation for this go-live, current eD-H users at D-H have already begun to see changes in the system, and all users not in Keene can expect longer waits for phone support and resolution of non-urgent IT issues for the next several weeks.

“We will also take this opportunity to remind everyone of the tremendous work effort folks from around D-H have been, and will be, putting in to making the Cheshire expansion possible,” says Solberg. “Inevitably, there will be small challenges and stumbles along the way, but we trust everyone will ‘pardon our dust’ as we bring this huge project to completion.”

Travis Stover Receives Moses Award

Travis Stover, Moses Award Recipient

Environmental Services technician Travis Stover radiates friendliness as he makes his cleaning rounds in the Pediatric and Neurology units of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s (DHMC) fifth floor inpatient tower. Patients, especially children, are delighted to see him and frequently greet him by name, and he clearly enjoys interacting with patients, families and nurses on these units.

“I say good morning to patients or give them a friendly wave and a smile because some of the patients can’t talk,” says Stover, who has worked at DHMC for 10 years. “And it brightens my day too, to hear them call out my name and say hi.”

Recently, Stover provided comfort to the family of a patient who was hospitalized on the Neurosurgery unit. The patient’s grateful sister nominated Stover for the Moses Award, which celebrates the patient-focused work of Environmental Technicians and is named for a janitor (Moses), who is featured in a video that focuses on the power of positive interactions with patients.

The patient’s sister wrote in her nomination letter: “My mother and I had spent a very long day at DHMC and Travis came by to clean and asked how our family member was doing. He was warm and friendly and took the time to provide comfort and a bright smile while he dusted and went about his job. Visiting with Travis was the highlight of our day!”

When asked how he felt after receiving the Moses Award, Stover says, “I felt awesome. I felt like I made a difference in somebody’s life and it really made me feel good. And it made me feel glad to be in my department and at this institution, as well.”

Environmental Services Manager Laurie Tostenson says Stover is always positive and rarely misses work. “Travis has a great smile and is happy to help anyone and everyone!” she says. “He’s reliable and consistent and wants to do the best work he can for the patients and his co-workers. We’re lucky to have him as a member of our team.”

Celebrating the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care

Artist rendering of the center

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is preparing to expand its palliative care options for the community by opening a state-of-the-art facility by the end of this year. Called the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care, the center will benefit patients and families with close collaboration between D-H and regional home hospice agencies. By working together, D-H and its hospice collaborators aim to transform the end-of-life experience—and expectations—of patients and their families regionally and nationally.

To celebrate the Jack Byrne Center opening, a special lecture and open house will be hosted to mark the occasion. On Friday, November 3, at 4 pm, Dr. Ira Byock, former section chief for Palliative Care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H), will be giving a lecture, “Living Fully, Dying Well,” in Auditorium H, at DHMC. Byock is a sought-after guest lecturer, author and palliative care advocate who was instrumental in the initial planning for the Jack Byrne Center at D-H.

A special open house for the general public will be held on Sunday, November 5, from 10 am to 3 pm, at the Jack Byrne Center. Guests are asked to park at the DHMC main entrance parking lot and take the shuttle bus service to the Jack Byrne Center. Signs will direct guests to the shuttle pick-up area. Shuttle service will continue throughout the open house time period to bring guests back to the main parking lot.

For more information about the Jack Byrne Center, visit our website.

Patient Experience Moments: Michael Mahoney

Michael Mahoney

Wayne Moschetti, MD, MS, left, with Michael Mahoney.

“Fairness and life have nothing to do with each other,” says Michael Mahoney, 66, of Greenfield, NH. “You get what you get, you do what you do and you pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

Mahoney, who has undergone more than a dozen medical and surgical procedures over the last 50 years, may have had “some blue days along the way,” but with the support of his mother and his sisters, and considering some of the groundbreaking care he has received, he keeps a sensible outlook. “I’ve had a lot of bad luck but a lot of good outcomes,” he says.

Mahoney’s journey began in 1970, during his sophomore year at the University of New Hampshire. A diagnosis of renal failure led to fifteen months of kidney dialysis, until in 1972 he received his first kidney transplant at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Brigham and Women’s Hospital). The kidney donor was his mother.

During that time, Mahoney developed hyperparathyroidism, which causes high levels of calcium in the blood and urine and, conversely, too little calcium in the bones. Among the symptoms of this condition are arthritis and bone fragility, and made double hip replacement surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital necessary, in 1973, when he was 22.

In 1982 and 1985, he had revisions of both his hip replacements. “The problem with my hips was bone replacement,” Mahoney says. “With each replacement, I lost a little more bone. The socket hole got bigger.”

Over the years, Mahoney decided to transition his care to Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) because it is an easier drive to Lebanon than Boston. When his third set of hips were failing him and the pain intensified, there was never a question that he would see an orthopaedic specialist at D-H. That is when he met Wayne Moschetti, MD, MS in Orthopaedics, whom he liked immediately. “Moschetti is a really nice guy,” he says, “and you can actually talk to him like a human being.”

Read the full story online.

A CHaD Halloween Tradition: Trick-or-Treating on the DHMC Inpatient Units

DHMC's inpatient hallways were filled with CHaD patients, family trick-or-treating on Halloween.

DHMC's inpatient hallways were filled with CHaD patients, families and staff trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Patients, families and staff from the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) celebrated Halloween by trick-or-treating through the inpatient units at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. According to CHaD Child-Life Specialist Jessica Laperle, CCLS, this more than 30-year annual event “allows staff to come together with patients, for patients to come together with each other and lets families remember all of the fun stuff that happens outside of these walls, which is easy to forget when you are here.”

Dressed in costumes—either brought from home or donated by retailer Spirit of Halloween—patients, family and CHaD staff visited the inpatient units with spooky howls and a chorus of “trick-or-treat.”

“Halloween is a special time at CHaD. It is a time for us to celebrate with the entire hospital. Everyone is smiling, having fun, enjoying being here and being together, and highlighting who we are as a community,” says Laperle.

Dressed as Belle from Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Denee Fioravanti from Pathology, said, “I love seeing the smile on the kids' faces. We can’t give out candy, but I think it’s almost better that you can give out toys. Feels great doing it.”

“I love that people get to come and be kids themselves,” said Angelica Dubois, LNA, from Orthopaedics, dressed as the Mad Hatter from Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. “Our department dresses up as a team and shows that we can come together as a group, to provide gifts and treats for children.”

To get a glimpse of the festivities, watch this video.