By Traci Foster, CRA, MSRA, RT(R) ARRT, Program Director Cardiovascular Imaging, Memorial Hermann Hospital System
Organization, efficiency, knowledge and team recognition are just a few of the myriad of things leaders must contend with on a daily basis. No matter the size of the department one is leading, success is tied to each of these items in some form or fashion. In today’s ever-changing world of COVID-19, staffing shortages, supply chain backorders, medication shortages, etc., we are busier than ever before. We have more changes and challenges bombarding us daily that require us to be in-the-know and as flexible as ever.
During COVID, my leadership team decided to meet every Friday to help each of us be organized and deliberate in our actions, work as efficiently as possible, and help boost morale by making conscious efforts to recognize and praise team members. We decided to call this meeting “Campfire” as it reminded us of an evening by a campfire sitting together, reminiscing about the past, talking about the now and planning for the future.
During Campfire, each of us take turns to discuss the previous week including the good, the bad and the ugly. What were our wins? What challenges did we face and how did we overcome them? What opportunities did we have that are still on-going? Who made a positive difference?
No matter how much one would like to be everywhere at once and no matter how hard one may try, it is impossible to be everywhere and see everything going on in a department. We discovered that this open conversation about the week-in-review, allows each of us to learn about different events or situations that happened, that we might not have known about otherwise. It helps us better manage and make more informed decisions in the future.
Also during this week-in-review, we discuss those who made an impact regardless of the perceived size of that impact; whether to a patient, a family member or a co-worker. Again, this proves to be invaluable as many stories are brought to light that otherwise would stay hidden. An example is an early morning technologist allowing a later technologist go to lunch first because the later technologist had an important phone call regarding his child. Another example is a nurse going out of her way to make sure recovery was stocked with Sprite and Goldfish crackers once she learned these were the favorites of a patient who was on the schedule for a sedated MRI the next morning. We want to acknowledge all the positive, inspiring and heartfelt actions our teams show to each other on a daily basis; not only to recognize them for their efforts, but to hopefully foster a sense of recognition throughout the department so staff will be more open to acknowledging each other on a regular basis. We take this a step further and at the end of our meeting, we take turns writing hand-written thank you cards for each of us to sign, that shows the team member the entire radiology leadership team is supporting and acknowledging his or her efforts.
After the previous week has been dissected, we move to the upcoming week. What known concerns or challenges are there? There may be a very complex patient whose exam has been coordinated with other areas that will make multiple communications throughout the visit essential. Or, perhaps staffing is going to be critical with a team member on vacation, another on FMLA, and your lead technologist just informed you she has COVID. Knowledge is power and when you are aware of possible challenges it makes it much easier to plan and prepare for them.
In addition to the concerns or challenges that may come our way in the next week, we also review special events and accomplishments to commemorate. Birthdays, work anniversaries, graduations, etc. are all fantastic opportunities to take a few moments and celebrate each other! This is much easier to plan and do with a little head’s up.
It certainly takes a village and our “Campfire” wouldn’t have the same impact if we didn’t discuss how each of us could help and support one another. Leadership is tough. A simple question such as, “How can I help with that complex patient scheduled for Tuesday?” can go a long way with building trust and camaraderie within your leadership team.
Taking a few minutes to reflect on the previous week and prepare for the next week has been a great way for our radiology leadership team to stay organized, be more efficient, have additional knowledge about things we otherwise may not know and build up our team! •
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