March 26, 1999

Medical center staff, faculty to take part in satisfaction survey

Medical center staff, faculty to take part in satisfaction survey

Vanderbilt University Medical Center staff and faculty are getting the chance to tell it like it is.

Early next month, all medical center personnel will take part in a comprehensive survey to assess how they feel about their jobs.

The survey, to be conducted by Charlotte, N.C.-based Morehead Associates, is aimed at identifying opportunities to improve internal communication, staff and faculty retention and institutional collaboration in pursuit of VUMC's strategic goals.

The survey will be administered from April 6 through April 13. Summary results will be published later this spring, and staff and faculty will see full results for their individual areas. Respondent identity will be kept confidential. The survey will be repeated every two years.

Staff and faculty will be asked:

o how they feel about the medical center;

o how they feel about the job they do;

o what they think of the people they work for;

o what they think of the people who direct their work;

"It is a critical first step in understanding our own culture," said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

As a major academic medical center, the importance of providing patients with great care and caring can't be overstated. Customer service, patient satisfaction and compassion have become part of the institution's fabric. But there is still much that needs to be done, Jacobson said.

"We all know these things are important, but in many respects, they are illusive, hard to control and tough to improve. And we need to improve how we deal with our customers; we need to understand, sympathize and help them with their total experience here, and doing that requires the level of service made possible by intelligent, capable and concerned staff with a combination of experience and dedication," Jacobson said.

This level of experience and dedication on the part of employees, studies have shown, comes from a sense of personal value and direction borne of positive interactions with the leadership of the company. The survey taking place early next month will provide institutional leadership with the preliminary data necessary to better pursue the stated goals of continuous improvement in all three areas of VUMC's mission – research, education and patient care.

"This type of information is crucial when working through the complexities that make it more difficult or less rewarding to do our jobs and will enable us to build an agenda for improvement," Jacobson said.