Jul 28 2011

A team approach to health care

Mott 5 East engages employees through open communication and collaboration

When Clinical Nurse Manager Laura Cherven, R.N., discusses her unit’s stellar Employee Engagement survey scores, she is quick to attribute the success to her staff members’ positive attitudes and collective work ethic.

“Everyone here works really well together to make our patients comfortable and safe,” she says, referring to the 5 East Unit of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Cherven is being modest.  Since 1987, her leadership skills have helped her unit, which works primarily with child and adolescent congenital heart patients, achieve some of the highest Employee Engagement scores at the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers.  Willingness to Recommend your Department—one of the survey’s most straightforward markers of employees’ workplace satisfaction—has consistently been in the high 80’s for Mott 5 East.

With assistance from other unit leaders, Cherven implemented a team approach to health care that focuses on open communication and collaboration.

5 East Unit of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

“We want our staff to realize how important they are, but also to see that they are part of a bigger picture,” says Denise Roberts, R.N., clinical nurse specialist on Mott 5 East.

Annual offsite retreats help team building by focusing on educational topics and providing participants with opportunities to give feedback and ask questions.

“We talk about communication all the time, but it’s tough to make sure we reach everyone when they are focused on meeting the needs of our patients,” says Cherven. “Retreats help us communicate with everyone on our team at once.”

Surgeons, doctors, patients and their families are typical guest speakers to the more than 70 staff members who attend each year. This year’s retreat, which is scheduled for the fall, will focus on the opening of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.

“This is a great opportunity to make sure we all have the information and skills needed to excel in a much larger space,” says Roberts.

A seven-person workload committee also helps Mott 5 East staff by responding to various workload and work-life balance issues within the department.

“We try to be really open-minded about everyone’s different schedules and in making sure we give them the time off they need,” says Cherven.

“It’s important that we provide our staff with a variety of people they can work with to address issues,” she adds. “We want them to feel comfortable to speak up about what is working and what isn’t. This committee helps facilitate that kind of problem solving. ”

When asked about their favorite part of the job, Cherven and Roberts both agree: the people they work with.

2 Responses to “A team approach to health care”

  1. Karen Key says:

    Laura Cherven is a great nurse manager which results in such an awesome unit. Everyone on 5E works together well; not just with each other, but with other deptartments, as well, resulting in excellent patient care (from admission to discharge).

  2. Claudia Ogden says:

    Laura doesn’t give nearly enough credit to herself. I know: I worked on 5 East in the past. She is supportive, compationate, and respects each employee giving them the room to be the best they can be. I miss her. I thought the entire University was like 5 East; I have found it otherwise and think she has knowledge that should be shared with Nursing leadership throughout UMHS.

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