Friday, January 29, 2021

Welcoming New Colleagues

I have been addressing new employees at orientation for many years. I believe that it is very important for me to present our vision as an organization to get people started well. In doing this, I am essentially taking them through the beginning steps of our Leadership System.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, meeting with new employees at orientation has been difficult. For a few months we presented a previously recorded version of my session. Then we moved to a virtual session. In December, after the cyberattack we were not able to meet even virtually. So, I was very happy on Monday of this week to return to the virtual interaction. 

I began by telling our new people about who we are as a company and presented our three work systems. I then spoke about our mission and values before getting into the history of our vision, our vision phrase, and our four aims. 

I try to engage the participants in conversation to begin their enrollment process. During this week’s orientation I spent a few moments speaking with Amy Martin, a registered nurse, who will be working in our Pediatric ED/Inpatient Unit. I was excited to hear that Amy was returning to GBMC. She had worked here for 17 years, starting in 2003 as an Administrative Assistant. Amy then moved to a role in patient access. She eventually attended nursing school and achieved her RN in 2018 and started her career in pediatric nursing. Amy left GBMC last December, but told me that she decided to return “because I missed my home away from home, which includes Pediatrics and GBMC itself.” Amy continued: “I missed the support and encouragement I received from my coworkers that was tremendous all throughout my nursing journey. I am excited to be back. I am looking forward to seeing so many people, and to work in Pediatrics again. I am also looking forward to all the new, exciting projects in the works for GBMC like the planned addition.”

Amy’s story made me start to think, “what is it about GBMC that allows us to retain members of our workforce, especially nurses, and inspire some who have left to come back?”

There are many reasons like our size and our focus as an independent community health system that enables us to foster a “high-relationship” workforce. We focus on developing a relationship with each employee and do this through our ongoing listening posts to hear “the voice of the employee.” We conduct our 45-day post hire interviews, have our Employee Relations Council and our Diversity & Inclusion Council, and we hold “Lunch with the CEO” monthly. We’ve expanded our daily LDM and LMS rounding, to include weekends. 

For nurses in particular, we create an environment of fellowship and “belonging” through our Art of Nursing celebration. Our career ladder in nursing gives individuals an opportunity for personal growth.

I was excited to welcome all our new employees and to welcome Amy back. I was reminded that our people are what make GBMC great and that we must always be working to create even more joy in our workforce by making GBMC a better place to work. 

Roll ‘em up for Round Two!
This past Monday, 28 days since vaccine doses first were given within our health system, our employees returned to get their second dose. Receiving that second dose is critical to get a strong immune response against COVID-19.

We distributed the second-round, of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, to healthcare workers, which included doctors, nurses, clinicians and all other support personnel, who have already received the initial vaccine dosage. I was really encouraged to see our healthcare workers getting their second dose, because it helps bring us closer to returning to normal.

We’ve been moving as quickly as possible to vaccinate our workforce, our patients, and the community. We are following the State’s rollout plan. Maryland has now authorized many new sites for vaccine distribution and the bottleneck is now the number of doses available. 

I am immensely proud of the work our team has done under the direction of Harold Tucker, MD, our Chief Medical Officer, Yuliya Klopouh, our Director of Pharmacy, Sophia Powell, our Director of Employee Health, and Eve Bowmaster, GBMC HealthPartners Director of Quality and Patient Safety, to get people vaccinated to help put an end to this pandemic.

With that said, I want to emphasize to the public that it is still very important to follow the preventive measures that have been stressed to help stop the spread of the virus. Everyone, including those who receive the vaccine, should continue to properly wear a mask, avoid group gatherings, maintain physical distancing, and practice proper handwashing. Thank you!

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