VC Notes Archive Office of the Vice Chancellor
Friday, July 22, 2016

Multi-Topic: VC Notes July 22, 2016

Good morning!

First, I want to thank the many of you who commented to me about last week's VC Notes on the violence that seems to be engulfing our world.  I was pleased that my words struck a chord with you and I hope similar calls for reflection and unity are going on across our country.  Thank you.

I've been out of the office this week so it's a good time to touch on a few items that have caught my attention recently.  Next week I'll answer your questions.

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Last Monday we rolled out the Employee Engagement Survey to all 10,000 employees on our three campuses. This is the first time we have surveyed the entire organization with this kind of tool. Previous efforts have been limited to employees in the clinical enterprise. 

The survey also included a component related to clinical quality and patient safety, which has led to some confusion. This part of the survey is designed for clinical workers, so some employees from nonclinical areas have not been clear as to how to respond to questions that do not seem directly relevant to them and their work. The advice from Human Resources is to respond to those questions related to quality that seem relevant to your work unit, and to skip those that do not. 

Yes, it would have been nice to have a choice of N/A or Not Applicable for these questions, but this part of the survey was provided to us by a third party and we are not permitted to alter it in any way. Also, to receive credit from outside ratings groups like Leapfrog, we have to administer it to our entire workforce.

With all that said, we will gain valuable insight from the survey, not only about your perceptions of clinical quality, but about your overall level of engagement and satisfaction with your work environment. So if you have not yet taken the survey, I encourage you to do so, and if you have completed it, thank you for this information that will give us a better sense of the areas we need to work on.

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B_herrington.jpgI was touched to receive a note passed along by our nursing leadership from the president and co-founder of the DAISY Foundation. This is the group that created the DAISY Awards, which recognize skilled and especially compassionate care given by nurses to patients and families. President Bonnie Barnes wrote that when she received an order for a large quantity of DAISY nominee pins and looked up the number of UMMC nurses who have been honored through the years, “my eyes welled up.”

That made me curious, so I decided to check the numbers. In the last five-and-a-half years, UMMC nurses have received more than 7,000 nominations and have been selected by a committee of their peers to receive the award 77 times. Those stats tell me that there is a lot of kindness and competence in the house at UMMC and there is also a rigorous process in place to honor the very best of the best.

Said Ms. Barnes: “To see how many of your truly deserving nurses are being nominated by their patients, families and co-workers who I assume take the time to share their stories of how your nurses care, compassionately, is simply - Wow!”

I add my own “Wow,” although I am not at all surprised. Our nurses are amazing. 

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A story in Wednesday's Hattiesburg American provided a good update about the family medicine residency program based at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. Funded by the Legislature a few years ago, the program just enrolled its third and final cohort of six residents, bringing the total to 18.  One of the residents featured in the story is our recent graduate, Dr. Kory Blackwell. The program was developed partly in response to data from the Office of Physician Workforce showing that 60 percent of family doctors in Mississippi are age 50 or older. North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo operates a family medicine residency program as well, and has done so since 1994. I applaud these efforts to increase the number of primary care physicians serving Mississippi, which continues to rank last in the nation in physicians per capita. We're certainly doing our part to address this problem - we'll be growing our class size when our new medical school building comes online - but we welcome all the help we can get from wherever it may come. By every indication, the Forrest General program, operated in association with the Hattiesburg Clinic, is doing a wonderful job and I congratulate them.

Producing more health-care providers for our state, by whatever means it takes, is just one very important way we will reach our goal of A Healthier Mississippi.

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