International ACHE Profile:
“ACHE membership adds a lot of credibility to your resume and was instrumental in getting me the patient safety officer job at Tawam Hospital, a Johns Hopkins-affiliated facility. This is my dream job.”
Q: Tell us briefly about your background in healthcare management.
In 2004 I moved to Dubai to work for Deyafa Systems, a healthcare IT company, as a business development manager. Deyafa was my first international exposure, and I realized that I needed to be more specialized in healthcare management. This motivated me to complete the Continuous Quality Improvement for Health Services program from the Canadian Healthcare Association.
During this time, I read an article by Carson F. Dye, FACHE, and published by HealthLeaders OnLine called “20 steps to advance your career,” which prompted me to become a member of ACHE in 2005. This eventually landed me in my current job.
Q: How did you arrive at your current position?
Q: What are your primary job responsibilities?
Q: What is the biggest challenge you face in your current position?
But Tawam faced many barriers to patient safety, such as hierarchies between providers, a culture that isn’t accustomed to acknowledging medical errors, and the tendency for the poor communication and teamwork that leads to adverse events. Tawam also has a unique set of challenges; its employees hail from 60 nations, making cross-cultural communication a difficult task. Many of these caregivers have traditionally felt an added reluctance to admit mistakes because doing so might lead them to lose their jobs; Tawam had a history of terminating employees for making mistakes.
Tawam’s executive team realized that the best way to enhance patient safety was to build a culture of safety at the hospital, and launched the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program (CUSP).
Q: What is the biggest reward?
Q: Briefly describe the overall healthcare atmosphere in the UAE.
Q: How do you see healthcare management changing in the next five years?
Q: What advice can you offer for other international affiliates?
Integrating Ethics Into the Life of Your Organization
To meet the increasing challenges of delivering quality healthcare, a strong ethical foundation is critical to your organization’s success.
A clear, integrated set of ethical values will affect every aspect of your organization, from developing your strategic plan to the day-to-day, even minute-to-minute care of your patients. But developing these principles is not enough.
Healthcare leaders must employ and demonstrate ethical leadership, implement ethical principles at their organizations and effectively communicate these expectations to staff.
In this article, William A. Nelson, PhD, associate professor at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and an advisor to the ACHE Ethics Committee, lays the groundwork for ethical leadership.
According to Nelson, an ethically-driven organization is reflected by many characteristics, such as a values-based culture, staff-accepted mission and vision, fully incorporated ethical practices and behavior, leadership, and an effective ethics committee. The driver of these characteristics is the executive staff. It’s imperative that the executive staff demonstrate that ethics is important.
According to Nelson, three initiatives must be in place in an organization for ethical practices to be employed:
Develop and Integrate a Values Statement
Developing a values statement is the first step, but the critical next step is its dissemination and integration into the life of the organization. “A values statement is not just a list of nice words; its integration is the core ingredient for determining what the organization does and how it behaves,” Nelson says.
First, let’s start with some key definitions:
Mission: a specific description of an organization’s purpose
Vision: what the organization wants to become
Values Statement: how the organization will conduct its activities to achieve its mission and vision
According to “Organizational Values Statements,” a column by Nelson and Paul B. Gardent in the March/April 2011 issue of Healthcare Executive, values statements have a number of characteristics and purposes:
While providing methodologies for all complex situations is impossible, Nelson says, the values statement should provide enough of a framework to guide an individual in making decisions that uphold the vision and mission of the organization.
The values statement should also be reviewed regularly by a group that represents all arms of the organization, from executive leadership to clinical leaders and community representatives. According to Nelson, the review process should be “an in-depth assessment of specific ethics-grounded values and the assimilation of those values into the organization’s day-to-day culture, practices and behaviors of the organization’s staff.”
Establish Practice Guidelines
The hospital then needs to establish clear practice guidelines so that staff members not only know the organization’s expectations when they’re faced with a challenging decision, but are empowered to make ethical decisions on their own, Nelson says. This fosters merging the values statement with best practices, so that the overall culture of the organization is grounded in ethics.
Reinforce Guidelines With Staff
The guidelines then need to be reinforced on a regular basis with both existing and new staff members.
“We’re sending a message to the community, staff, etc., that this is what is expected of you,” Nelson says. “Ethics is the foundation for healthcare organizations. It’s why we’re concerned about patient-centered quality care. It’s the framework for how you facilitate your mission.”
For more information on the development, review and uses of value statements, read “Organizational Values Statements,” a column by William A. Nelson, PhD, and Paul B. Gardent in the March/April 2011 issue of Healthcare Executive. (Nelson contributes regularly to the Healthcare Executive Ethics column, which runs in each issue.)
Below are new ACHE resources such as books, study courses and websites to help you excel in your career.
Still Time to Register for Congress
Internationally-focused seminars in this year’s program include:
In addition to internationally-focused sessions, Congress also includes an International Affiliate Reception on Monday, March 21, giving you the opportunity to network with healthcare leaders from around the globe.
Visit ache.org/Congress for more information and to register.
Strategies to Resolve Conflict in the Workplace
Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. But how conflict begins and evolves depends on three factors:
You can determine the strategy that works best in your situation by understanding the nature of the conflict, the conflict styles of the involved parties and the importance of communication to the resolution process.
Workplace conflict is an energy drain on all involved, and escalation of the conflict can lead to serious consequences. Unresolved conflict causes resentment, brings other employees into the conflict, sets the tone for office politics, lowers productivity and depresses workplace morale. By resolving workplace conflict, you maintain a workplace atmosphere conducive to work, healthy relationships and job satisfaction.
The effectiveness of your resolution strategy depends on understanding the conflict styles of the parties involved.
Conflict Resolution Skills
Conflict resolution skills are based on effective communication and are helpful in de-escalating and resolving workplace conflict. The Conflict Resolution Network recommends that you choose from 12 skills that work best in your situation, such as creative responses, empathy, appropriate assertiveness, managing emotions, negotiation and mediation.
Interest-Based Relational Approach
This approach to conflict resolution respects personal differences and relies on cooperation and effective communication. Protect relationships by maintaining calm and courteous behavior and remembering that people are not problems. Respect the needs of all involved as valid and equally important. The approach calls for active listening, which requires paying close attention to what people say and restating what you heard.
Designing a Mixed Strategy
One strategy for resolving workplace conflict involves understanding the conflict response styles of all involved and designing a strategy based on that knowledge. Use the different conflict response styles of the employees to identify a strategy or a mixture of strategies for your specific workplace conflict situation. Understanding the different conflict response styles also helps you to identify what has not worked in the past and select a more effective strategy.
Adapted from “Workplace Conflict Resolution Strategies,” published Oct. 24, 2010, on Livestrong.com/blog. Click here for a full copy of this article.
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