Two weeks ago Beaumont Health System, a three hospital system located in and around Detroit, MI, made a major commitment to advancing dyad leadership across their system. They selected nurse and physician leaders to work as partners on each unit across all three hospital campuses. These leaders are now tasked with working with frontline staff to identify gaps in the human experience and create innovative solutions that are practical and sustainable. System CMO, Dave Wood, MD explained his connection to this important work with an analogy. “In business school they may say, ‘I want to make a lot of money.’ In medicine, what connects us is that we want to help people. But when we teach to the test, we miss the mark.”
The dyad leadership approach is part of a broader effort at Beaumont to improve the human experience by restoring physicians and staff to purpose and empowering them to engage fully in their work with patients. Beaumont starts from a position of strength. Trish Lurie, RN, MBA, NE-BC, Beaumont’s Director of Quality, Safety and Service described how she first came to Beaumont. “I wasn’t going to interview here,” she said. “I’m a pediatric nurse at heart, and Beaumont didn’t have a Children’s Hospital when I was interviewing, so I interviewed at a competitor and it was like an assembly line. Then I interviewed here and I was met by a greeter who made me feel welcome and showed me around. I had three people in the interview who all showed enthusiasm. I was introduced to the medical director of the unit and he showed no ego in describing how he works with the staff. It felt warm. So I came here instead and I’ve never regretted it.”
Beaumont leaders believe strongly that engaging staff and refining culture are the best path to improving the human experience. “You have to get physicians and nurses together on the floor,” said Dr. Wood. “They have to be both accountable and empowered.” They launched their efforts by conducting a staff-wide pulse survey, asking physicians, nurses, and staff to rate their willingness to recommend their hospital as a place to work and as a place to come for care and why. They received more than 6,000 responses, giving them a wealth of insight into current perceived strengths and gaps.
Participants in the kickoff defined roles and responsibilities, reviewed service-line specific staff and patient experience gaps, learned about a trove of best practices from which they can draw, and signed a compact that outlined their commitment to work together. Dr. Wood pledged to give each team a small amount of seed funding for project work, and offered a larger challenge grant for teams who come up with exceptional solutions. By engaging the frontline staff to get input, and empowering dyad leaders to lead local innovation, Beaumont is laying a solid foundation for culture change. Dr. Wood summed up the work with a reminder that, “Our goal at Beaumont is to create an environment where every quality physician and nurse aspires to practice.”