By Lydia Kleinschnitz
I don’t know about you, but I get annoyed when I know there is an important task that I need to do but I just cannot seem to get to it because my task list is too long! There is always one more issue to take care of or something that seems to prevent me from doing the one thing I really want to do. The focus of this column is not how to be better at time management but about making sure, as a radiology leader or director, you do that one thing that can make all the difference for your team – rounding. I am not referring to the type of rounding that is done weekly or even daily, that type of rounding is done quickly without much staff interaction. I am referring to taking time to be intentional. To round, I must make sure that I designate time on my calendar to call upon my team and to visit the many areas for which I have responsibility.
For me there are two main reasons to round in the department. First, if you round effectively it will help your team feel appreciated. Furthermore, it shows you care and that you are approachable. Second, it is important to make sure processes that you think are in place are really occurring. It can be ground down to one word – validation. Rounding that meets these requirements is rounding that I like to call purposeful rounding that provdies time to relate and substantiate. This purposeful rounding isn’t just a time to say hello or to offer a casual, “How are you doing?” Questions should be specific such as, “I understand you were sick yesterday, how are you feeling today?” or “Do you have what you need to do your job today?” Other questions that verify specific processes or controls can be added; for example, request a demonstration of a workflow.
Rounding is a great time to highlight any positive accomplishments that have occurred in that area or that a specific staff member has experienced, such as a work milestone or a new secondary registration. With specific questions you can help staff feel like an individual and not just another cog in the machine. You are also able to see and validate what processes they are using to complete tasks. This goes a long way to ensure you are knowledgeable as to what is occurring in the department and approachable as a leader, not just a name on an organizational chart.
While rounding, if the person allows, I sometimes take pictures when he or she is recognized for special accomplishments. I will share these moments with the entire team during all staff meetings. It is on the standing agenda for all staff meetings to review updates, review new policies and share staff recognition. This is one more way to show my support and appreciation. Rounding to relate and substantiate can take up to an hour and I prefer to do this type of rounding at least twice a month. I certainly cannot go through every department during that time, so I rotate through the different modalities during each trip. Taking the time to round with intention or taking the time to relate and substantiate can be a keystone towards building and sustaining a positive and effective workforce.
Lydia Kleinschnitz, MHA, BSN, RN, is the senior director of imaging services at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside.