August 18, 2006

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: If a faculty member were repeatedly to behave poorly toward patients or staff, how would we best handle that?

Answer: This is where faculty leadership is tested. Our patient satisfaction survey process and our system for carefully tracking patient complaints are intended to allow departmental leaders and Vanderbilt's Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy to monitor patient satisfaction and uncover any poor performance on the part of individual faculty members.

Departmental leaders should regularly provide feedback to their faculty about this vital aspect of faculty performance. These leaders need to make sure that clinical faculty follow protocol in their encounters with patients, and that all faculty understand and uphold organizational standards in their behavior toward staff and other faculty members.

If a staff member observes repeated unprofessional behavior on the part of a faculty member and doesn't care to address the issue directly, the patient care center leader or departmental administrator should be notified so he or she may address the problem.

— Steven Gabbe, M.D., VUSM dean