How often do you self-reflect on the reason why you entered the healthcare field? It was just this past week where I gave a presentation to my leadership team at HCA Healthcare-Westside Regional Medical Center on my "Why" for coming into healthcare. It is something that really brings back a lot of memories of what you wanted to be when you grew up, asking yourself if the goals you set forth had been achieved and have you made a positive impact on patients' lives.
My "Why" started with an ambition to be an orthopedic surgeon, as most people in the medical field began their journey either pursuing a physician or nursing degree (or something clinical), as this was the sought-out route to make an impact inpatient care. This scenario is not unique to me and I am positive as you may be reflecting on your "Why" to healthcare, it is stimulating a similar scenario.
You may be asking "Why is Ashley talking about what she wanted to be when she grew up?" I know, I would be asking this very same question. Over the past decade of my professional healthcare journey, I had been making decisions for our patients without ever having been a patient in our system. I have been surrounding myself with clinical and non-clinical expertise to continue to improve human life in the healthcare system without having firsthand experience. I had been a caregiver. However, being over the red line in a gown, having the feeling of no control, increased anxiety was not something I had experienced. We all have been a caregiver during our time in healthcare, but experiencing as an actual patient is something totally different.
This year became a blessing in disguise. I had just been handed the responsibility of the surgical services department at my facility and two weeks later became a patient in the department. What better way to learn how to see part of the inter-working of it and improve a department then being a patient yourself? My work hard, play harder motto had led to dislocating my shoulder twice in less than 5 months, which resulted in needing arthroscopic shoulder surgery. The overall process went seamlessly. The care was phenomenal. At the end, it gave me a better appreciation for what we do as healthcare providers and what we ask of our teams to do day in and day out for our patients. The experience of being a patient now will have a lasting impact on my leadership. It has allowed me to view our healthcare processes with a different lens, provide insight from personal experiences, gives me the ability to connect to staff, patients, surgeons on a different level as now I have another way to relate to them.
Becoming a patient truly brings home my "Why" for being in healthcare. We do not all have to be physicians and nurses to impact patients' lives and some of the best decision-makers have been patients themselves to better create a more patient safe environment for our community.
If you are interested in hearing more of my "Why" then come to Chicago for Congress, I will be speaking to our student members in a session. Congress this year is March 23 – 26, located at the Hyatt Regency Chicago will have over 100+ sessions to choose from to elevate your continuation of learning, ability to network, and grow as a leader. ACHE has created tracks to help members select topics of interest lead by talented speakers from many backgrounds that have identified breakthroughs in process improvement, leadership development and other ways to enhance your organization and self by building a better tomorrow for our patients and our community.
As I close this winter newsletter, I want to give a shout out to our ACHE of South Florida Regent Awardees. These awards could not have occurred without the Regent Advisory Committee, which includes five individuals, plus myself, who assist in nominating and selecting the award recipients for the regent awards: Victor J. Rosenbaum, FACHE, Charles Felix, CPA, Haroula Protopapadakis, FACHE, Kenneth Wong, and Daniel C. Honerbrink, FACHE. Thank you for serving the college and assisting my role in selecting these profound recipients.
· Senior Career Award: Adrian M. Parker, FACHE & Ralph Rios, FACHE
· Early Career Award: Kristen M. Palanza
These three recipients received their award at the Annual ACHE of South Florida Installation dinner with their peers and other South Florida members.
Do not forget to ask yourself why you got into healthcare; it is a question to think about. If I can help you in any way in my role as Regent, please call on me. See you in Chicago!
Ashley R. Vertuno, FACHE
Regent for Florida - Eastern