OnStrike69Reuters has reported that as many as 18,000 nurses plan to walk off the job on November 12th in response to what they say are inadequate protections for staff when treating patients possibly infected with the Ebola virus. The strike is being organized by the National Nurses United (NNU) — one of the country’s largest nursing unions in conjunction with their affiliate, the California Nurses Association (CNA). The union says it is demanding full-body hazmat suits, powered air-purifying respirators, and more rigorous training for nurses across the country.

“Nurses, who have been willing to stand by the patients whether it’s the flu, whether it’s Ebola, whether it’s cancer, now they’re being asked to put themselves in harm’s way unprotected, unguarded,” says Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of NNU. In addition to the walkouts, nurses nationwide plan to engage in protests on Nov. 12, including picketing and coordinating bake sales to raise money for hazmat suits for nurses, DeMoro said.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention heightened its recommendations for personal protective equipment (PPE) to include hooded full-body suits to cover the neck, increased frequency of hand washing, and a designated supervisor to oversee the removal of infected gear.  Experts say these recommendations should have been implemented long ago.

But advocates for nurses say the recommendations should go further, and should be standardized and mandatory in all healthcare settings. The nurses union has circulated a petition asking Congress or President Barack Obama to declare a national standard.

If you’re interested in resources that can help your organization prepare for Ebola and other infectious diseases, HealthcareSource customer  University of Nebraska Medical Center HEROES Center has created videos, hand-outs, and other resources to help train healthcare workers about Ebola and the CDC’s more stringent PPE guidelines.  Should you have questions about other available resources, or need information or advice about ramping up a training program, feel free to contact us at solutions@healthcaresource.com.

This is a guest blog by Ratan Tavawala, Solutions Consultant at HealthcareSource. In her eight years with HealthcareSource, Ratan has managed support and HealthcareSource Performance Managerimplementation for hundreds of HealthcareSource Performance Manager customers and now helps hundreds of healthcare organizations improve their talent management processes. Connect with Ratan on LinkedIn.

Most HR professionals agree that it’s important for employees to have well-articulated goals to guide their work. However, goals alone are not enough. Healthcare organizations have discovered that providing employees with mentoring and coaching, in conjunction with goals, leads to greater employee accountability and better on-the-job performance.

Performance management is only effective if it’s a continuous process, rather than a once a year conversation at evaluation time. Healthcare leaders like Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla, Missouri and Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Indiana have developed a variety of coaching and mentoring programs that increase the touch points between managers and employees. These initiatives help improve retention among high performing team members, increase employee satisfaction through more targeted professional development, and enhance employee accountability by combining goals with frequent feedback.

Two years ago, Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) launched its C3 Conversations program. This is a structured communication process that creates a bridge between formal performance evaluations and the ad hoc, immediate feedback that is provided through “managing by wandering around.” Twice a year, managers are asked to hold fifteen to twenty minute C3 Conversations with every employee. The C3 term refers to discussions targeted at three levels of performance: Commitment conversations occur with high performers, Coach conversations occur with middle performers, and Counsel conversations occur with low performers.

The C3 program promotes transparency about performance expectations for both managers and employees. To support the initiative, the Human Resources team created a clear set of criteria which define whether a staff member is considered a high, middle, or low performer. The criteria have proven to be beneficial in several ways:

  • Managers use a consistent approach to coaching. With the criteria, supervisors know what to look for, as they evaluate employee performance and every manager is working from the same set of standards.
  • Employees have insight into how they are evaluated. Team members understand how their work is assessed. All employees have access to a C3 Frequently Asked Questions Document on the organization’s intranet. Using the same criteria across departments makes it less likely that employees will claim they have been unfairly treated.
  • The criteria can be incorporated into management tools. Managers have access to a spreadsheet that includes the C3 criteria. Supervisors can enter employee names, evaluate performance against the criteria, and determine which type of conversation is most appropriate for each team member.

C3 conversations ensure that managers are open with every staff member about their performance. “These are two-way conversations,” said Frank Lazzaro, III, Administrative Director, Human Resources at Phelps County Regional Medical Center. “Employees like to know where they stand and learn how they can improve. It’s also important for management to keep abreast of how employees are doing.”

An effective C3 conversation includes observations about employee performance, feedback about changes that individuals can make in order to do their jobs better, and questions for employees. Managers at PCRMC are encouraged to use the following tips:

  1. Prepare in advance. Supervisors understand that it’s important to prepare for these discussions ahead of time. Often this includes gathering feedback from an employee’s peers. Some managers use PCRMC’s performance management system to capture this feedback.
  1. Structure the conversation in four parts. The HR team recommends that managers structure C3 conversations in four parts. First, the supervisor emphasizes that PCRMC values the employee and wants to retain them. Next, the supervisor conveys that he or she wants to support the employee. Third, the manager engages in coaching and suggests ways that the staff member could be more effective on the job. Finally, the supervisor closes the conversation by reiterating that PCRMC is committed to supporting the employee.
  1. Sequence the conversations by performance level. In addition to guidance on how to structure C3 conversations, the HR department also advises managers to talk first with employees in the Commitment level, followed by those in the Coach group, and then conclude with the team members in the Counsel category.

At PCRMC, managers engage in employee rounding. Many supervisors have found that the C3 program is a useful tool for customizing their interactions with staff members as they do rounds. When managers explain to employees how their performance is improving, it helps create an emotional “bank account” and promotes greater trust among teams. “We feel that C3 conversations complement our performance management process. They don’t replace formal evaluations, but these discussions help correct poor performance, sustain good performance, and increase performance levels overall within the organization,” said Lazzaro.

Similar to PCRMC, Union Hospital has also developed an approach to mentoring and coaching that benefits employees at all levels of the organization. Union Hospital has a formal goal setting process which ensures that department and employee goals are aligned with broader organizational objectives. The performance management system contains Union Hospital’s critical success factors and twelve institutional goals. As departments establish their goals, they must align with the organizational objectives and employee goals must align with departmental goals. “Goal setting in conjunction with coaching has really helped with employee accountability,” said Joanne Davignon, Director of HR at Union Hospital. “Employees know from the first day on the job what is expected of them and they receive continual feedback.”

By engaging in coaching, managers promote a more open dialogue about performance and development issues. When employees talk about where they see themselves professionally in three years, it enables supervisors to establish goals which will help employees build the competencies they’ll need to attain those goals. A “goals check-in” process helps team members stay focused on what they need to achieve. Union Hospital’s performance management system sends reminders to managers to reach out to employees periodically about their work. Both employees and managers can enter information into the system, as well, which helps track progress toward goals.

In addition to goals setting and coaching, Union Hospital has several mentoring initiatives that are targeted at different employee groups. New hires in clinical areas participate in a preceptor program. “Employees are assigned a primary and a secondary preceptor. With this approach, team members are always assured of a timely response to their questions. This has a positive impact on employee satisfaction and it reduces first year turnover among new hires,” said Davignon.

However, new hires are not the only employee group that can benefit from mentoring. Union Hospital launched the “Leaders on the Horizon” program to coach and cultivate organizational leaders. The initiative addresses three tiers of leaders: emerging leaders, operational leaders, and strategic leaders. To identify the areas where leaders could benefit from additional development, the HR team is planning to have program participants complete an online behavioral assessment. Union Hospital uses this type of tool in recruiting, but the leadership development program appears to be another useful application for it. “The assessment feedback report is so useful. Based on that information, leaders can create an action plan for improving their effectiveness. In addition, we plan to assign mentors who can help these individuals reach their development goals,” said Davignon. The assessment reports also identify eLearning courses and books that would be helpful for different development areas. Based on resources recommended by the assessment system, Union Hospital is considering creation of a lending library and book group to support Leaders on the Horizon participants.

While managers often have a lot of experience coaching and mentoring, it can be harder for individual contributors to develop these skills. To address this challenge, Union Hospital has developed an innovative approach. At any given time, there are over 600 college students doing internships at Union Hospital. Frontline employees are given an opportunity to mentor the capstone students. This benefits the organization in two ways. Employees at the staff level gain experience with coaching and mentoring. It also demonstrates to students that the hospital is interested in their performance and development. New graduates are an important source of new talent and the employee mentoring program differentiates Union Hospital as a great place to work.

Performance management is an ongoing process that should be top of mind all year around. Mentoring and coaching programs are an effective way to provide continuous feedback to frontline employees, managers, and leaders. These techniques bridge the gap between formal, point in time evaluations and help team members focus on ways they can improve their performance on the job. The results include better patient care, greater employee accountability and satisfaction, as well as lower turnover among the strongest performers.


Note: This blog originally appeared on HR.com’s Talent Management Excellence Essentials ePublication. Read the original article here

Ebola preparedness -- are you ready?


With the recent cases of Ebola in the U.S. on everyone’s minds, these are challenging days for healthcare organizations and their employees. There’s confusion about which infection-control protocols to follow and how to effectively train and motivate workers who provide care and are potentially putting themselves at risk. After Dallas Presbyterian Hospital reported two of its nurses had become infected with the virus, the CDC, NIH, and others began talking publicly about the need for additional training, particularly in the proper use of protective equipment.

With so much at stake and in flux, we wanted you to know that everyone at HealthcareSource is committed to staying abreast of the developing science of infection control. The following is a list of resources from the CDC, NIH, and others you can access for the latest protocols and recommendations for dealing with infectious diseases such as Ebola:

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Download Surviving a Site Visit from The Joint Commission

Download Surviving a Site Visit from The Joint Commission

Accreditation by The Joint Commission communicates that a healthcare institution meets criteria related to the safety and quality of patient care. It has even been referred to as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval—for healthcare. Talent management processes play a major role in ensuring that the accreditation is met. When The Joint Commission surveyors unexpectedly show up at your door for a site visit, what message are you sending? Can you demonstrate compliance and produce the required information in seconds? Could you be signaling to the surveyors that you’re not in control of your processes?

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downloadThe terms mandatory education, compliance training, and fun aren’t typically found in the same sentence, but the team at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital managed to change that with a music video set to the tune of Vanilla Ice’s 90s hit “Ice Ice Baby.” The video was produced to serve as a reminder of the organization’s training program, Destination Zero — emphasizing their commitment to high-quality care with an overall goal of zero patient safety errors. 

Children’s Hospital has managed to create a fun culture that still manages to reinforce the seriousness of patient safety and medical errors. “We take patient safety seriously, and we’ve spent most of the year reinforcing our already strong safety culture through a training program called Destination Zero,” said Jeanann Pardue, M.D., chief quality officer at Children’s Hospital. The Knoxville, Tennessee healthcare organization has been named one of the top pediatric hospitals for safety and quality standards in the United States. 

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healthcaresource behavioral assessmentWe recently had the opportunity to speak to Vicki Hess, RN, MS, CSP who is a leading expert on employee engagement in the healthcare sector. In this two-part blog series, we’ll learn more about ways that HR and learning and development can build a culture of engagement within their organizations.

The first step in creating a culture of engagement is finding employees who will fit with the job they have been hired to do and whose values are consistent with those of the organization. That sounds like a challenging task, but it’s by no means impossible! Vicki Hess recommends using behavioral based interview questions to obtain a deeper understanding of what motivates each candidate. She offered three tips for healthcare recruiters:

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This is a guest blog by Pierre Thelusma, Software Engineer at HealthcareSource. Pierre is the newest addition to the engineering team working on HealthcareSource Position Manager and client migrations. Connect with Pierre on LinkedIn

When an individual decides to interview for a position at a new company, it is imperative Human Resources has a solid structure for communicating with prospective employees.  It is easy at times to forget that potential employees are in a difficult position. They are likely unfulfilled in their current positions. They are also likely to find the job search stressful as there is an element of the unknown involved in the process. Speaking from experience, simple, courteous communication during the interview process can go a long way, even if the interview does not conclude with a formal offer. 

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We recently had an opportunity to speak withemployeeengagement Vicki Hess, RN, MS, CSP who is a leading expert on employee engagement in the healthcare sector. In this two-part blog series, we’ll learn more about ways that HR and learning and development can build a culture of engagement within their organizations.

Employee engagement is a popular topic in healthcare, but HR teams can’t just decide one day that they are going to create a culture of engagement. According to Vicki Hess, “Employee engagement shouldn’t be promoted as the ‘flavor of the month.’ Instead, it’s more effective to integrate techniques that will boost employee engagement into the organization’s existing processes, technologies, and systems.”

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TEXT_HEREToday, we announced the key results from our fifth annual Healthcare HR Initiatives SurveyThe survey objective is to understand how healthcare talent management professionals are addressing three strategic goals: reducing costs, and improving patient safety and satisfaction. The nationwide survey conducted online from May 15 to June 30, 2014, garnered responses from over 500 healthcare professional and the results were presented during a live webinar event

This infographic breaks down the data and shows how healthcare organizations plan to achieve their initiatives despite insufficient systems and limited budgets. Check it out!

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This is a guest blog by Andrea Chadis, talentsymposium2014-logoEvents Manager at HealthcareSource. Andrea is the “one-woman-show” running all HealthcareSource events, including tradeshows, user groups, and the annual user conference. She the driving force behind our customer programs including the Talent-in-Talent™ Award, Sweets for Completes, and Refer-a-Friend.  Connect with Andrea on LinkedIn

Get your party pants ready and put your thinking caps on, because we’re headed to VEGAS this November for Talent Symposium 2014 — The HealthcareSource & NetLearning Annual User Conference. The final countdown is on with less than three months until show time, and as the event manager, my blood pressure is increasing by the day.

Every year the conference brings together hundreds of Healthcare HR, Organizational Development, and Education professionals for learning, networking, and tons of FUN. If you haven’t registered yet, you need to — right now. It’s a sure bet, you won’t be taking a gamble when you go ALL IN for Talent Symposium 2014. Seriously though, you’re not going to want to miss this — check out my list of the top 10 reasons you absolutely HAVE to attend:


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