April 6, 2007

elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

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Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

Question: What if my supervisor isn't “rounding” with staff or following the credo behaviors that we have all been asked to follow?

Answer: The credo behaviors constitute general work standards that apply, without exception, to all areas of VUMC.

As stated in the standards, we are each committed to “provide private constructive feedback for inappropriate behaviors.” We must hold each other accountable, learning to judge when and how to give constructive feedback.

If your manager routinely neglects certain work standards, you'll be doing our organization a service by raising the issue directly with him or her. If your intentions are constructive, you'll probably get a reasonable response, and if not, don't be too discouraged.

Regarding rounding, we've asked managers to engage staff in periodic informal discussions for feedback, general trouble-shooting and to make sure that people have what they need to do their jobs well. This leader rounding is at the heart of our efforts to improve service, quality and staff satisfaction at VUMC. I round with my direct reports and they in turn are accountable for rounding — it's part of my job to hold them to it.

We've tried to reach all managers with this instruction, but if your manager isn't periodically rounding with staff — the standard is at least monthly for smaller departments, and quarterly for departments with more than 30 people — I would ask you to consider providing feedback to this manager on an unsolicited basis.

If you're unsure how to broach matters with your supervisor, consider calling the Work/Life Connections Employee Assistance Program at 936-1327.

— Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs