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Found 45 results
  1. Content Article
    “There's no such thing as the unknown—only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.” James T. Kirk, Captain, Starship Enterprise. Star Trek, Season 1: The Corbomite Maneuver. Leading a large enterprise isn’t easy. Vision, compassion, humility, curiosity and adaptability are required attributes for those in charge to keep moving forward during times of relative calm or uncertainty. The stress and tragedy that accompanies catastrophic events can reduce the resolve and effectiveness of even the most accomplished leaders. Unprecedented large-scale situations, such as the Hurricane Katrina landfall or the September 11th terrorist attacks, reveal gaps in understanding that may not have been apparent before the disaster. These blind spots can dismantle the reserve of a leader and their team to culminate in poor decisions, inaction and organisational dysfunction. The COVID-19 pandemic is such an event. Rules are being mindfully adjusted to respond to the litany of process, clinical, financial and political disruptions healthcare workers must grapple with as they face the uncertain conditions of their patients, communities and themselves. It is incumbent on leaders to create stability by addressing these unknowns. Leaders within hospitals, social care organisations and within the public health spectra need to make immediate process adjustments to optimise effort, realise opportunities for improvement and learn to be resilient. They need to arrive at understanding while simultaneously managing challenges that emerge from the strained system to keep their enterprise on track. They need to do this by paying attention to safety culture, transformation and innovation, and will need tools and resources to do so. Leadership must build a culture to keep patients and workers safe. Leader’s communications and actions are core to the implementation of safe working conditions to provide the best care possible during a crisis. Yet, a Gallup poll of US healthcare workers found a lack of understanding of their organisation’s COVID-19 plan and lack of belief that safety policies in place will support their safe return to work. To address this gap, experts recommend leaders three steps to a better safety culture: use formal and informal mechanisms to explicitly communicate what the organisation is doing to keep staff informed and safe during the pandemic enlist their managers to implement policies, create opportunities to align the work of management and hold managers accountable to implement and sustain current practice and procedure talk to their people. Keeping an open dialogue through the use of established mechanisms such as ‘rounding’ can solicit insights and raise concerns to enhance the safety of teams and patients. Leadership must see opportunities to transform systems: COVID-19 has presented leaders with immense responsibility to act, adjust quickly as required and use those process changes to improve the overall system of care post-pandemic in preparation for the next unprecedented challenge. Geisinger Health System leaders in their article, 'How one health system is transforming in response to Covid-19' share the experience of designing their emerging COVID response to reliably innovate rather than only react. Leaders examined core system business concerns such as pharmacy and information technology by bringing together multidisciplinary groups that dismantled silos. Teams worked together using scenario planning to fully consider how restoring care processes, entering new work phases, preparing for the second wave and restoring financial viability would affect patients and employees. Leadership must use evidence and collective knowledge to adapt: The Journal of Public Health and Management Practice shares recommendations for leaders to meet COVID-19 stressors successfully. The article suggests leaders communicate well, be decisive, lead without hierarchy, remain proactive and take care of themselves to protect others. For example, to lead across a system seek expertise from a variety of organisational and environmental elements. Working with government officials, staff and peers can form collaborations, solidify shared purpose and distribute responsibility to serve a community well in crisis. Public health is a core partner in understanding how to guide, motivate and inspire change to enhance a collective response to COVID-19 and upcoming health threats. Clinicians in patient-facing leadership roles also exhibit these behaviours as their roles shift to manage crisis. The perspective of a New York cardiologist leading a COVID-19 infections disease service illustrates how the transfer of tacit knowledge around deliberate leadership observed daily while coordinating the service shaped his views on leadership and his ability to lead. Being emotionally available was a core characteristic that helped to express grief, exhibit vulnerability and openly share concerns, giving the experience the humanness it needed. This was important not only in his ability to mature as a leader but to demonstrate the empathy needed to get his team through the challenges at hand. James T Kirk knew how to lead. He sought consensus, learned from mistakes, yet acted as necessary to keep his crew safe, engaged and aligned with the organisational mission. He sought partners across the federation as needed. Kirk could be firm, decisive, yet empathetic. Have health leaders done similarly to protect staff, patients and the community, while gaining experience during COVID-19 to apply over time to enrich the care system at large and boldly go to a better, safer future?
  2. Content Article
    So, you have a network in place, a few allies and that’s working well. Your curiosity means that you are asking great questions. Then you hit a brick wall Push a few boundaries and you may find yourself in the middle of a disagreement, whether that’s you as a leader sharing power with your team or as the one brave soul who says "you don’t have the full picture". Whilst it may seem that people ‘in authority’ must find this easy to handle, otherwise they wouldn’t be in charge, at the end of the day this can be scary stuff wherever you sit within your team and the wider system. You could turn back at this stage, but I hope that you don’t. Top tips for dealing with conflict Here’s a few more tips from me, all drawn from my experience of working with individuals and teams wanting to make the right difference for their patients: Pause and take a long hard listen to what’s being said. Stephen Covey says that most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply (1). Take a moment to reflect on how you listen. Empathic listening is not listening until you understand, it’s listening until the other person feels understood. Combine this with patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day and a big shift in the way things happen may take time. Use this opportunity to grow your network of people who share your passion for making a real difference. Last time I talked about power; from our formal positions, expert power derived from our knowledge and experience, and personal power. There’s also a wonderful power expressed through appreciation (2). Nancy Kline recommends a 5 to 1 ratio of praise to criticism. Researchers studied how appreciation effects blood flow to the brain. Less flows when we are thinking critical thoughts. Appreciation is necessary for optimal brain function. It moves to the heart to stimulate the brain to work better. Infectious, it goes a long way especially when someone may be quietly wondering whether something was the right thing (3). And, unusually, emails and texts can be the unsung heroes of appreciation. Being appreciated for what you did that day, that week makes a real difference. So far so good but what if you really cannot agree with the direction of travel? Well you can disagree respectfully and politely. There is a time and place for agreement and disagreement (4). And finally seek some feedback. One of the real benefits of building a network of support is that it can help you hone your practice and build your confidence. It can be difficult to fully engage, give your best and then know how you landed. Was I clear in that meeting? Could people understand what I was trying to say? Was I too forceful? But you can identify a trusted colleague and ask if they will give you some feedback. I often suggest people set this up ahead of time, you receive richer feedback as a result. The Healthcare Leadership Model is also a brilliant tool (5). It’s not just for people with leader in their title. It’s made up of nine leadership dimensions that you can explore at your own pace and then, if the time is right for you, seek feedback from others using the online tool. In return you receive a comprehensive 360 report along with a session with a trained facilitator to help you get the best out of your report. Thanks for reading this – let me know your experiences. Next time I am going to be talking about our responses to change and why it really is a bit Marmite – some of us are wired for change, others less so. But it’s a little more predictable than you might think… References 1 Stephen R. Covey. The seven habits of highly effective people. Franklin Covey, 1990. 2 Video: French and Raven's Bases of Power. YouTube. 2017. 3 Nancy Kline. Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind. Ward Lock, 1999. 4 Peter Khoury. How to Disagree Respectfully, magneticspeaking.com 5 Healthcare Leadership Model. NHS Leadership Academy.
  3. News Article
    The mother of a student, who took his own life, said today she felt 'sick to her stomach' after an NHS communications manager labelled a media report on her son's suicide a 'malarkey'. Pippa Travis-Williams, whose son Henry was found dead days after leaving a mental health unit run by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) in 2016, said an email sent by NSFT communications manager Mark Prentice to his boss was 'disgusting'. It comes weeks after Mr Prentice gloated in another email to his boss that the NSFT had 'got away (again)' with media coverage of the death of a dementia patient. In an email to his boss, explaining why NSFT chief executive, Jonathan Warren, was going on BBC Look East, Mr Prentice said the NSFT might look 'uncaring' if Mr Warren did not appear and then described the coverage of Mr Curtis-Williams' suicide as a 'malarkey'. Read full story Source: Ipswich Star, 10 March 2020
  4. Content Article
    This video gives a summary of the PRAISe project - a QI project about antibiotic stewardship, based on Learning from Excellence philosophy. Funded by the Health Foundation.
  5. News Article
    In early January, authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan were trying to keep news of a new coronavirus under wraps. When one doctor tried to warn fellow medics about the outbreak, police paid him a visit and told him to stop. A month later he has been hailed as a hero, after he posted his story from a hospital bed. It's a stunning insight into the botched response by local authorities in Wuhan in the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak. Dr Li was working at the centre of the outbreak in December when he noticed seven cases of a virus that he thought looked like SARS - the virus that led to a global epidemic in 2003. On 30 December he sent a message to fellow doctors in a chat group warning them about the outbreak and advising they wear protective clothing to avoid infection. What Dr Li didn't know then was that the disease that had been discovered was an entirely new coronavirus. Four days later he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau where he was told to sign a letter. In the letter he was accused of "making false comments" that had "severely disturbed the social order". "We solemnly warn you: If you keep being stubborn, with such impertinence, and continue this illegal activity, you will be brought to justice - is that understood?" He was one of eight people who police said were being investigated for "spreading rumours". At the end of January, Dr Li published a copy of the letter on Weibo and explained what had happened. In the meantime, local authorities had apologised to him but that apology came too late. For the first few weeks of January officials in Wuhan were insisting that only those who came into contact with infected animals could catch the virus. No guidance was issued to protect doctors. "A safer public health environment… requires tens of millions of Li Wenliang," said one reader of Dr Li's post. Read full story Source: BBC News, 4 February 2020
  6. Content Article
    Summit objectives: to foster connections and support networking across the Alliance to surface key issues that are top of mind to Alliance leaders to support capacity around personal, organisational, and industry leadership to promote discussion and activities that foster and advance courageous, creative, collaborative leadership across the network to inform and advance the direction of engagement, collaboration, and collective action opportunities across the Alliance network.
  7. Content Article
    In conclusion, although self-assessment scores were similar, incivility had a negative impact on performance. Multiple areas were impacted including vigilance, diagnosis, communication and patient management even though participants were not aware of these effects. It is imperative that these behaviours be eliminated from operating room culture and that interpersonal communication in high-stress environments be incorporated into medical training.
  8. Content Article
    Movies from 1939 are engrained in American culture. They share narrative, characters and quotes that people are aware of even if they, alas, haven’t seen the films. The list of films produced in what some consider the finest year in Hollywood history speaks for itself; it includes Stagecoach, Ninotchka, Destry Rides Again, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz and both my and the Academy’s favourite, capping the impressive output with a December 1939 release, Gone with the Wind. While recognising that certain characterisations in these movies haven’t aged well, the films have made an indelible mark on Hollywood history. The films of 1939 laid the groundwork for great things to come. They launched the careers of artists that have made a cultural mark worldwide: need I say more than John Wayne or Judy Garland? Another capstone to a productive year is the end of the 20th year post the publication of To Err in Human. The widely influential 1999 US publication showed us how to fight for patient safety – our Tara. It outlined approaches to address the seemingly reoccurring tornadoes in healthcare built to instead point toward home – a safe health system. Scarlett’s tenacity, her force of personal will and sustained belief in Tara is what pulled her through the maelstroms of civil war Georgia. Clinicians, however, cannot rely on grit and willpower alone to address clinical and organisational threats to safety. The lack of control to minimise systemic pressures on their moral imperative to do a job well in non-supportive situations reduces a clinician’s ability to practice safely. Building on the To Err is Human legacy, The US National Academy of Medicine (NAM) is committed to understanding factors that contribute to unsafe care. A NAM recent report on burnout lays out a system-focus strategy for organisations to reduce conditions that degrade physician health and, thus, safe practice. Dorothy’s quest to return home energised her instead to engage a multidisciplinary team. The skills of Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and, yes, even Toto got them through the forest to safety. Without their individual commitment to the mission, humanness and competence the team would have never gotten to Oz. The American Association of Medical Colleges (AMMC) recently released a set of competencies expected in physicians to support quality practice. By suggesting what educators embed in their training efforts, the AAMC helps ensure learning opportunities that build competencies are embedded in programmes on the yellow brick road to safe care provision. Transparency helps us to see situations as they really are. Peaking behind the curtain enables exploration that, if used appropriately, can drive improvement. Toto pulled back the curtain to expose a threat that, once clarified, launched a collaboration that got Dorothy back to Kansas. The US-based Leapfrog Group has also forged a partnership to look behind the curtain. The latest release of the Hospital Safety Score data has focused attention on what isn’t working to support safety while celebrating hospitals that demonstrate sustained safety and quality. The scores track weaknesses in hand hygiene, infection control, and patient falls as elements of whether a hospital is safe. There have been challenges: wicked witches, budget constraints, refusal to accept change and conflicts. It has not been an easy road to Tara since Err is Human was released. Experts in the field have shared their dismay in the lack of progress. Yet stories of resilience, partnership and teamwork continue to motivate the resolve of Dorothy and Scarlett to keep going. Goal-focused efforts can backfire and not live up to their expected purpose. The South didn’t win the Civil war though they believed it was their destiny to do so. Scarlett never won back Ashely no matter how hard she tried. A recent article published in Health Affairs highlights the lack of correlation between the US Medicare and Medicaid programme reimbursement initiative and direct impact on patient safety in the state of Michigan. Its impact is questionable—which for a large-scale solution embedded throughout the system—is humbling. Questionable actions can be a human reaction to stress that needs to be called out and managed to reduce their presence and impact. While centering her as a force for action, Scarlett’s spoiled and selfish behaviour also destroyed her most meaningful relationship. Such destructive behaviours degrade relationships needed for the safety of care. A large US study published in NEJM found that harassment and inappropriate behaviours effect one-third of general surgery residents surveyed, particularly women. The mistreatment and bias generated by both patients/families and medical team members were identified as a key factor in burnout and physician suicide. The stories from great films of 1939 illustrate the power of grit, resolve, focus and leadership as elements of achievement. They share with us memorable characters that live with us long after the movie theatre lights come up. Through the embodiment of the tenacity of Scarlett and the team-focus of Dorothy we can and will work through the known barriers to reduce patient harm due to medical care. We have not yet arrived at Tara, but we continue to work tomorrow toward getting over the rainbow.
  9. Content Article
    This blog highlights solutions to the problem of poor culture of speaking up and bullying within healthcare. Dr Blair Bigham and Dr Amitha Kalaichandran propose three solutions to enable a culture without fear. Measure culture within the organisation. Hire talented leaders. Embrace diversity and inclusion and reject hierarchy.
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