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January Leadership Assembly — Care That Changes Our World

Jan. 25, 2024, 8:16 AM

Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, talked about initiatives to reduce acts of violence or other disrespectful behaviors toward VUMC health care workers. (photo by Donn Jones)
Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, talked about initiatives to reduce acts of violence or other disrespectful behaviors toward VUMC health care workers. (photo by Donn Jones)

Kindness, understanding and respect underpin the work of the doctors, nurses and staff of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). These results are visible through ongoing patient feedback, as well as through accolades that facilities across the Vanderbilt Health system continue to receive, leaders said during the January Leadership Assembly.

Ongoing initiatives to reduce acts of violence or other disrespectful behaviors toward VUMC health care workers are vital for the well-being of both our people and our patients, said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of VUMC and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

 

Mutual Respect

Signage around Vanderbilt Health facilities reminds patients, families and staff that “All people are welcome here. All behavior is not.” These visual cues are a statement of VUMC’s values and are an important element in establishing expectations for the tens of thousands of patient and staff interactions taking place each day.

Violence and disrespect in health care delivery is a national problem. At VUMC, employees are encouraged to speak up and report abuse so that problems can be addressed, or de-escalation strategies can be implemented.

“Sadly, it’s become a great deal more common for our care providers to experience disrespect because of age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, even a person’s accent or dress. We need to address these situations proactively, so that everyone understands this is not OK at VUMC,” said Balser. “My biggest ask today is that if you personally experience any of these behaviors, witness them, or learn that a team member is experiencing them, please report it immediately.” Balser also emphasized that all employees should complete the new Mutual Respect training in the Learning Exchange.

C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy CEO and Chief Health System Officer, spoke about VUMC’s commitment to providing excellent patient care and supporting a culture of safety. (photo by Susan Urmy)
C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy CEO and Chief Health System Officer, spoke about VUMC’s commitment to providing excellent patient care and supporting a culture of safety. (photo by Susan Urmy)

A campaign started several years ago to increase awareness of workplace violence and disrespect on VUMC’s campuses has been critical in advancing these efforts. Awareness of violent incidents has increased, which has prompted more reporting — a key step in the process, said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy CEO and Chief Health System Officer.

“This is good news. VUMC has been and continues to be dedicated to exemplary patient care and committed to supporting a culture of safety for our staff and clinicians, as well as our patients and families. We’ve shown that speaking up is the best way to address concerns for yourself, for our patients, for your colleagues and for our health system,” said Pinson.

 

System-wide recognition

This far-reaching commitment to excellence is demonstrated by recent national recognition of three of VUMC’s hospitals by the Leapfrog Group. Vanderbilt University Hospital (VUH), Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital were all named “Top Hospitals” by Leapfrog, a large coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage that works to encourage health care safety, quality and affordability.

Notably, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital not only received Leapfrog’s “A Safety Grade,” but was one of only 34 hospitals nationwide to be named a “Top General Hospital.” For the third year in a row, VUH was called out among the small number of hospitals designated as a “Top Teaching Hospital” and for the second consecutive year Monroe Carell was designated a “Top Children’s Hospital.” Moreover, VUMC was the only medical center in the nation to have top hospitals in all three categories. Additionally, Vanderbilt Bedford Hospital received Leapfrog’s Fall “A Safety Grade” for overall patient safety.

National recognition is testament to the high-quality care and dedication to outcomes across the health system, said Pinson.

“It is always my pleasure to report that our Vanderbilt Health facilities and team members continue to achieve national rankings and recognitions for their quality care, their consistent focus on safety, and their commitment to educating health care’s future leaders,” Pinson commented.

 

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Turns 20

The VUMC community is thrilled to celebrate a milestone anniversary on Children’s Way on Feb. 8. The physicians, nurses and staff of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt will be marking two decades of changing lives next month. All those who dedicate their careers to improving the lives of children from our community, and all over the country, are part of the hospital’s enduring legacy.

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