From their very first day on the job, Jacqueline Dennis, RN, and other new employees are learning to be caring, respectful partners with patients and their families.
A new, expanded employee orientation focuses on The Christiana Care Way, educating Christiana Care’s newest team members on ways they can best serve patients and visitors.
“We are here to talk about culture, how we do things, at day one,” said Shawn Smith, MBA, vice president, Patient Experience. “The Christiana Care Way is how we show up in the moment with our patients and family members by partnering with them. This new, interactive education format sets up our new employees for success.”
“The Christiana Care Way is how we show up in the moment with our patients and family members by partnering with them. This new, interactive education format sets up our new employees for success.”
The segment of orientation that deals with The Christiana Care Way has been expanded from 30 minutes to 3.5 hours. The emphasis is on interactive experiences that teach employees how to effectively partner with the people they serve.
About 150 new employees from throughout the health system, including 80 nurse externs, attended orientation at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center on Jan. 19.
A highlight of each orientation is a presentation by one of Christiana Care’s patient and family advisers. Amanda Sleeper, Ph.D., co-chair of Christiana Hospital’s advisory council and a patient adviser to the NICU, shared the story of how she became involved with Christiana Care and talked about what it means to truly partner with patients and their families.
Group exercises helped learners to build skills using AIDET (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explain and Thank) and HEAT (Hear, Empathize, Apologize, Take Charge), providing a framework for resolving issues. For example, one scenario challenged teams to interact with a patient who had been waiting a long time for a test.
“Saying ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t enough,” Dennis said. “It doesn’t give the patient resolution.”
Service recovery should begin the moment an employee realizes an expectation has not been met, said Margarita Rodriguez-Duffy, MSW, director, Visitor and Volunteer Services.
“We need to accept ownership of our impact on others,” she said. “If I came into a room with my head down and did not greet you, how would that make you feel?”
That resonated with Delshera Robinson, a new radiology technician.
“I know we love our cellphones, but we have to disconnect,” she said. “Something as simple as making eye contact makes a difference.”
Pam Boyd, MSN, RN, CNOR, senior manager of Patient Experience, encouraged new colleagues to work together with employees throughout the health system. If there is a problem, don’t blame the staff in another department. Supporting one another helps to give patients a sense of confidence.
Employees also were encouraged to “manage up,” looking for answers to questions they can’t provide themselves. For example, if you don’t know directions to a visitor’s destination, acknowledge that and offer to find help.
“It’s OK to say, ‘I’m not sure myself. Let’s find out together,’” said Ann-Marie Baker, MSN, RN-BC, senior program manager, Patient Experience.
New hires learned about the No Pass Zone by watching a video and then learning about how to put the concept into practice, answering call bells promptly to get patients the assistance they need. Often, a patient’s request can be as simple as drawing the blinds in the room.
“The idea is to make learning interactive,” said Susan Coffey Zern, M.D., director of Simulation at Christiana Care’s Virtual Education and Simulation Training Center. “We aren’t just talking about The Christiana Care Way. We get to see it.”