Leadership has been defined in many ways over the centuries. Over 150 years ago, John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States, said, âIf your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.
This sentiment was embraced and embodied by Chris A. Lumsden, FACHE, President and CEO of the Northern Regional Hospital. Two years ago, Lumsden, a nationally recognized leader in healthcare administration, asked members of his Northern leadership team to create a unique hospital leadership academy that would encourage and empower employees to become leaders.
âLeadership is not defined by an employee’s job title,â Lumsden said. âWe have many leaders at all levels of our organization who use their individual creativity, persuasive power and perseverance to inspire and inspire others to do great things. The goal of our Leadership Academy is to encourage these employees to strengthen and refine their leadership potential in order to improve patient care and strengthen our community engagement, while fostering their own personal and professional development.
Lumsden brought in two – Debbie Moser, RN, BSN, SCRN and Jessica Arrington – to serve as co-facilitators. He also suggested that they use an educational model he was already familiar with to formulate a personalized curriculum for their new initiative.
âIt took a lot of time and effort to develop a rewarding and immersive educational program, but it was also a lot of fun,â said Moser, director of staff development and stroke coordinator.
“That’s absolutely true,” echoed Arrington, director of patient access, who added that the final program exposes participants to all aspects of hospital operations – from attending senior management meetings visiting the areas of the facilities that are not generally visited or seen by most employees, including the kitchen, boiler room and rooftop.
Employees interested in enrolling in the program should apply with a written request and then be interviewed with a group of hospital executives. âWe’re looking for people who are ready to grow and want to expand beyond their comfort zones,â Moser explained. âParticipation in the academy is not necessarily designed to be a stepping stone towards promotion. Rather, it is about enabling leaders to reach their full potential as part of the organization’s mission.
Each semester of the Leadership Academy lasts six months and is limited to approximately eight students. Students must meet a multitude of requirements – including attending weekly class sessions, completing a reading list, following selected members of the hospital leadership team, keeping journals, attending visits legislative programs (to better understand the relationship between hospital operations and government agencies), and present a final case study to serve as a formal proposal of a well-documented project or program they would like to pursue.
Each participant is assigned a mentor from among the main administrators of the hospital. âMentors act as a guide and a valuable resource for students, especially as students become more adept at embracing the value of teamwork and seeing and appreciating the big picture,â Arrington said.
Before earning graduation certificates, each student presents their case study – a project proposal that incorporates the values ââand practical business considerations that were explored in the program. To date, all of the proposals presented have either been approved for full implementation or remain under serious consideration by the hospital management team.
Two of the most recently approved case studies highlight the positive effect the academy has had on motivating students to go beyond their job descriptions and create programs to help meet health needs. patients and the community.
Tina Edwards, a recent Leadership Academy graduate, proposed the creation of a compassion closet to meet the needs of eligible patients about to be discharged from hospital. His idea was born after seeing a recently released man leave the facility without shoes. Today, Edwards’ Compassion Closet Homes donated clothing, toiletries and other personal care items – which can be provided to the homeless or other vulnerable patients on the point to get out.
âThe Leadership Academy has been instrumental in reminding me that each of us can make a difference,â said Edwards. âFor me, this difference was about ensuring that patients leave our hospital not only with better health, but also with their dignity. “
Another recent graduate, Daniel Combs, RN, BSN, EMT-P, used his training at the Leadership Academy to formulate a more self-directed approach to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training in the aftermath of the COVID- pandemic. 19 – which dramatically reduced that one-on-one training style that Combs had previously used when training or recertifying hospital staff. As a result of Combs’ case study, the hospital purchased a digital training program to complement its existing program. The new system also allows for the training of interested members of the community.
âI am proud that Northern now has the ability to expand its reach to provide vital CPR training to members of our community,â said Combs. âWe really rely on each other more than ever at the moment. What better way to take care of our neighbors than by giving them the tools they need to save someone’s life? “
Since the registration of his first class of January 2020, 13 student-employees have successfully obtained their graduation certificates. âWe are encouraged by the early and continued success of our Leadership Academy,â said Lumsden. âBy continuing to develop leaders, we are able to improve and further expand Northern’s ability to meet the health care needs of patients and our community. This is a win-win scenario, and serves as further validation of the importance of educational initiatives that emphasize professional development.