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“It’s about what keeps each of us up at night!”

August 16, 2011

As leaders during this tumultuous time in healthcare, we spend a lot of time concerned about big and important issues of the day. We think deep thoughts. We have meaningful conversations with other big thinkers. We predict the state of the future. We strategize. We bravely lead our workforce into the great unknown, all the while, believing that they share the same concerns.

You know the concerns I’m talking about…the concerns you rattle off when someone asks “what keeps you up at night?” – revenue streams, costs, recruitment, EMR’s and ACO’s among others. Well, maybe, just maybe your list of concerns and your workforces list of concerns are not aligned!

When is the last time you asked a member of your team what keeps them up at night? I bet you would be surprised at the answer. I know I was when I recently asked several staff nurses, clinical managers and pharmacy techs.

They weren’t telling me they were losing sleep over CMS payment reductions, continually increasing operating expenses, skilled worker shortages, qualifying for “meaningful use” incentives or ACO’s. What they are losing sleep over is their job security, increasing workloads, inappropriate skill mixes for patient care, and role changes as the focus changes from disease management to wellness.

But wait…I think both groups are talking about the same thing!

If revenues don’t remain the same or increase and costs aren’t held or minimized than jobs are at risk. If skilled workers aren’t recruited and retained than workloads on remaining employees do increase and quality of patient care cannot be maintained. And then there is the change from disease management to wellness models of healthcare delivery which will definitely cause roles to change. The same things are keeping the healthcare leaders and the healthcare workforce up at night!

So, if each thinks the other is concerned about a different list of issues, the problem is really one of perspective. The question now becomes: “What can we all do to move the healthcare leadership and the workforce toward a shared perspective?”

What has worked for you or your organization?

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