On Wednesday of this week I had the privilege of spending 12 hours with the Mendocino Coast District Hospital’s Fort Bragg stationed ambulance crew, which included Morgan Daniel, Paramedic and Jason Haefeli, EMT. Mark Klosterman, Paramedic and Daniel (“Dano”) Justice-Greenwald, also worked that day, stationed in Mendocino. This is part of a new program that I am beginning at our hospital in which I will spend 1 day per month in a hospital department. I have been inspired by my peers, Todd Linden, CEO at Grinnell Regional Medical Center in Grinnell, Iowa who routinely performs WalkRounds at his facility (same idea, 1 day per month in hospital departments) and Gary Boyd of the Southern Mono Healthcare District, located in Mammoth Lakes, California who performs “Rounding for Outcomes.” In my very first Hospital CEO position, 24 years ago, I initiated a similar program which I called “Adopt an Administrator.” It is immensely valuable to spend the day with our “front line” staff and to “walk in their shoes,” so to speak. And it is also, just as important for the staff to get to know me better and to feel like they can talk to me about anything that is on their minds.
Among the many things that I learned on Wednesday, was the importance of teamwork for first responders. It was obvious to see that Morgan and Jason knew what each other were thinking as they took care of their patients, which resulted in fast and efficient care in the field. My greatest excitement for the day was responding “Code 3″ to the scene of a motor vehicle accident. Out in the field, ambulance crew, firefighters and peace officers all worked together to ensure a timely response for medical care to everyone involved in the accident, as well as efficient traffic flow and public safety. But, my observation of teamwork was not contained to only first response in the field. Back in the hospital, I saw how valuable it is to have paramedics and EMTs in our Hospital Emergency Room. Jason, in particular, did everything in the ER from “rooming” ER patients, to checking vital signs on patients, answering the telephones and even mopping up a spill in the waiting room. I can see why our ER nurses like having our ambulance crew to help. I didn’t mind getting my hands dirty either. I helped to transfer 1 patient, change sheets in the ER, answer the telephone and watch the front desk while others were busy. I wish that I could have done more. But I am glad to have the experience of seeing what our dedicated employees deal with everyday. I can hardly wait for my next WalkRound. I have already decided to conduct it in our North Coast Family Health Center on October 15.