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Coaching program enhances communication

For the past three years, Yale-New Haven Hospital's leadership coaching program has helped managers enhance their listening skills and interactions with employees during rounds.

With the goal of having every manager receive coaching, the hospital plans to expand the program from 34 to 50 leadership coaches who will rotate among the York Street, Saint Raphael and Bridgeport campuses, Shoreline Medical Center, Temple Medical Center and other locations.

The leadership coaches — themselves hospital managers and above — accompany managers during their rounds with staff and provide tips to enhance managers' communication with employees.

"Coaching helps managers become more consistent and effective in their communication," said Judy Catalano, RN, manager of Patient Experience on the Saint Raphael Campus and manager of the leadership coaching program. "By showing that they're invested and interested in what employees have to say, managers encourage employee engagement, which has a major impact on the patient experience."

Hospital managers who have employees directly reporting to them are expected to round regularly with staff to gauge how well they understand and use the I Am Yale-New Haven behaviors, including AIDET (acknowledge, introduce, duration, explanation, thank); 10/5 rule (eye contact within 10 feet of a person and a greeting within five feet); no venting where a patient or visitor might hear; library voices 24/7; pitch in and pick it up; and 200% accountability. Consistently using these behaviors enhances the patient experience and can yield higher patient satisfaction scores — a 2014 PIP goal.

Rounds also provide opportunities for employees to tell managers what tools and resources would help them in their work.

"Employees often have excellent ideas about how to improve care, safety and patient and family satisfaction," said Jeannette Hodge, executive director, Patient Experience."During rounds, they can share those ideas with their managers."

During past rounds on the Stroke/Telemetry Medicine Unit, staff told Peggy O'Brien, RN, patient service manager, that a set-up in which syringes and medications were stored in different locations on the unit was inefficient. O'Brien was able to have secure cabinets that hold syringes and medications installed, making it easier and faster for nurses to get patients their medications.

Recently, leadership coach Kim Carter, RN, patient service manager, Children's Surgery and Children's Medicine/Cardiology Unit, accompanied O'Brien on her rounds, observing and interacting with O'Brien and her staff.

"My whole purpose in coaching is to be collegial and supportive," Carter said. "I want both the leader and staff to feel very comfortable."

To evaluate leaders, Carter and other coaches refer to a checklist of 21 rounding behaviors. These include explaining the purpose of rounding to employees, asking employees certain questions about I Am Yale-New Haven behaviors and recognizing employees for a job well done. Carter reviewed the checklist with O'Brien during a one-on-one, post-rounds meeting, praising her relationship and interaction with her staff. Carter offered tips on getting employees to provide examples of how they use the I Am Yale-New Haven behaviors and ensuring employees understand why the behaviors are important.

"The feedback from the leadership coaches is valuable," O'Brien said. "It's especially helpful having a coach who's a nurse, who understands how nurses communicate."

Department heads recommend managers and above for the leadership coaching program. To become certified as leadership coaches, candidates undergo three days of training and observation by a consultant. Once certified, each leadership coach rounds with at least two managers a month, spending about one hour with each on rounds and pre- and post-rounds meetings. Leadership coaches also complete written evaluations that are submitted to managers and their supervisors.

"These coaches devote a substantial amount of time and effort to the program because they can see its value," Catalano said. "Leadership coaching is a best practice proven to improve employee engagement, which will bring us to another level in patient care and satisfaction."

Yale-New Haven Hospital news release

Yale-New Haven Hospital is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine. Yale-New Haven was founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826. Today, the hospital's two New Haven-based inpatient campuses include Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties. YNHH's York Street campus and associated ambulatory sites are Magnet-designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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