Catalyst Learning Blog

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Articles, case studies, and success stories to guide and inspire healthcare HR, Organizational Development, and Clinical professionals.


Alexandria Booth - 2013 Dream Achiever Award Recipient Catalyst Learning

Although she was glad to have a job in the cafeteria at UW Hospital & Clinics, Alexandria Booth wanted to explore career opportunities in other areas of the hospital. She wanted more responsibilities and room for advancement, but Alexandria wasn’t confident she had the necessary qualifications for other positions. That’s when her former boss, Bonnie, told her about the School at Work (SAW) program. Alexandria took Bonnie’s advice and applied for the program.


Through the SAW program, Alexandria gained the necessary skills to use the hospital’s computer system. She took classes in math, reading, health care and career-planning, while also expanding her knowledge in anatomy, medical terminology and resume writing. The SAW program helped Alexandria become stronger in her current role and seek out new employment opportunities at UW. She now has a much-improved resume and a great new job as a scheduler in Women’s Health.



"Dream Achievers!" awards recognize professional and personal accomplishments in the health care industry. The awards are part of a nationwide contest sponsored by Catalyst Learning. Catalyst Learning is a leader in healthcare workforce development with an emphasis on strengthening the front-line workers employed in entry- and mid-level positions.


Employers nominate employees for the “Dream Achievers!” award based on an employee’s continuing efforts towards professional education and career achievement, as well as serving as an inspiration to coworkers and members of the community. Nominees were selected through an online voting process hosted by Catalyst Learning.





Rachel Blankenship - 2013 Dream Achiever Award Recipient Catalyst Learning

Eight years ago, Rachel Blankenship began her career at Mercy in the Environmental Services Department. The School at Work program gave Rachel not only professional skills, but also the confidence to move forward with a career. She went on to acquire her GED and started pre-requisites for nursing school. In 2007, she moved to the position of patient care associate and switched her focus to direct patient care. Rachel was accepted into nursing school after she completed her pre-requisites and became an RN in 2011. As Rachel’s coworkers can attest, she is a proven leader and a success.



"Dream Achievers!" awards recognize professional and personal accomplishments in the health care industry. The awards are part of a nationwide contest sponsored by Catalyst Learning. Catalyst Learning is a leader in healthcare workforce development with an emphasis on strengthening the front-line workers employed in entry- and mid-level positions.


Employers nominate employees for the “Dream Achievers!” award based on an employee’s continuing efforts towards professional education and career achievement, as well as serving as an inspiration to coworkers and members of the community. Nominees were selected through an online voting process hosted by Catalyst Learning.





Dawn Bishop - 2013 Dream Achiever Award Recipient Catalyst Learning

Dawn Bishop is a mother of four who has always wanted the best for her family, especially that the children obtain a college education. However, Dawn was concerned that her own dreams for higher education may be out of reach. In Spring 2013, Dawn graduated from the Expanding Your Career and Healthcare Opportunities (ECHO) program. The Bishop children were not only proud of their mother’s accomplishment, but also found inspiration seeing her in the graduation ceremony. “I am not going to say that it is easy,” Dawn said. “But with the confidence I gained after completing the ECHO program, I am now pursuing a college degree. I am a Dream Achiever!” Dawn graduated from ECHO in April and started college in May. As her family and coworkers can attest, Dawn is truly an ECHO star.



"Dream Achievers!" awards recognize professional and personal accomplishments in the health care industry. The awards are part of a nationwide contest sponsored by Catalyst Learning. Catalyst Learning is a leader in healthcare workforce development with an emphasis on strengthening the front-line workers employed in entry- and mid-level positions.


Employers nominate employees for the “Dream Achievers!” award based on an employee’s continuing efforts towards professional education and career achievement, as well as serving as an inspiration to coworkers and members of the community. Nominees were selected through an online voting process hosted by Catalyst Learning.





Lyndon Bartle - 2013 Dream Achiever Award Recipient Catalyst Learning

More than 20 years ago, Lyndon Bartle had the dream to become a massage therapist and help patients relieve pain. However, it wasn't until he enrolled in the School at Work (SAW) program that he began to achieve that dream. Lyndon spent countless hours on the lessons, with each success celebrated as one more step forward. After graduating from the SAW program, he traveled each Saturday for nine months to take classes as part of a mentorship program offered by Professional Massage Therapy. In 2013, Lyndon passed the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination and is now applying for a Missouri license. After three decades as a PCRMC employee, Lyndon is proof that it is never too late to reach for the stars and explore new opportunities.


“We consistently encourage our employees to further their education and to become lifelong learners,” said Frank Lazzaro, administrative director of human resources at Phelps County Regional Medical Center. “We are fortunate to have a wide variety of tools, such as the School at Work program, to assist in this endeavor. We are truly proud of all those who have completed the program. We especially appreciate this special recognition of Lyndon’s accomplishments.”



"Dream Achievers!" awards recognize professional and personal accomplishments in the health care industry. The awards are part of a nationwide contest sponsored by Catalyst Learning. Catalyst Learning is a leader in healthcare workforce development with an emphasis on strengthening the front-line workers employed in entry- and mid-level positions.


Employers nominate employees for the “Dream Achievers!” award based on an employee’s continuing efforts towards professional education and career achievement, as well as serving as an inspiration to coworkers and members of the community. Nominees were selected through an online voting process hosted by Catalyst Learning.





The Business Case for Employee Investment: Lessons from ASHHRA and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Catalyst Learning

By: Carolyn Hardy, Regional Manager, Catalyst Learning 

 

What's the point?  That's what you're wondering if you're anything like me - a skimmer.  Well, I'll give you the gist; this is not about a quick fix to turn around your engagement scores or a miracle new process that promises to be the magic bullet for retention or patient satisfaction.  This post is about a multi-year journey with an organization that placed a premium on culture and used accountability to take their place as employer of choice in the community.  This is about the hard work and the metrics that prove the link between employee retention, investment and operational efficiency. 

 

Rhonda is already talking as I enter the room, on this last day at the ASHHRA 2013 Conference.   I begin to tune in to Rhonda's clear, strong voice. 

 

"The focus is here: to make every employee feel that they are part of what we do, no matter if they are a nurse, a doctor, a housekeeper, a parking valet.  Connecting is what we need to do, regardless of our industry."

 

We're listening to Rhonda Larimore, Vice President of Human Resources and Support Services at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (UPMC).  She's an excellent speaker and we're all here to see what we can learn about "The Business Case for Employee Investment".  Much of Rhonda's message can be summed up by what must be an easily recognizable state to us all; regarding the role of HR, she says, "There's two kinds of HR departments - ones that do the paperwork and ones that do the vision work."

 

Listeners are introduced to a series of areas that Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh identified for improvement in 2006 when Rhonda came on board.   From annual turnover to patient satisfaction, from a lack of vision in learning and OD to a need to focus on values in daily practice, we got a pretty clear picture - Rhonda wanted to take it back to the drawing board.

 

This graph represents the rates for each measure in 2006 compared to 2013 at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, under Rhonda's leadership, and the clear impact the improvements had on the operating margin:

                    Performance Comparison Graph
                                   2006 to 2013
Time to fill is measured in days, all other measures should be read in percentage.

 

 

So how did they do it? She shared CHP's strategic plan:

  1. Recruitment and Selection Improvement
  2. On-boarding Improvements
  3. Performance and Talent Management Improvements
  4. Define acceptable service standards and hold accountable
  5. Improve patient satisfaction results
  6. Proactively seek feedback from patients, families, visitors, physicians, etc.

Of this plan Rhonda tells us, "It's about packaging it so that people see not just the ones-ies and twos-ies of what we do but the whole picture." She is speaking of the leadership in the organization as well as the employees who report to them. Getting an organization of that size on board with this kind of change can't have been easy and she relied on support from other leadership and a values-based approach on which everyone could agree.

 

As this story winds up, I'll highlight a couple of stories from items 1 and 3 in the strategic plan.

 

CHP wanted to hire talent whose values closely matched that of the organization. Enter Ted Kinney, Ph.D. and Director of Research and Development for Select International. These two formed a partnership and implemented a standardized hiring process and assessment. Hands flew up as Rhonda spoke of their success, their measures and their processes. In the end, everyone was quiet and you knew they'd been impressed by the staggering lack of complications or issues with the new process. Ted was present to answer questions and he had rapt attention from the audience; this guy was about to become very popular.

 

Since Catalyst Learning is a workforce development organization, I promised to address workforce development and here it is.

 

Learning & OD - 'How can I focus on MY career?'

 

Again our speaker describes a dichotomy positing that there are two types of employees:
1) those who want to grow their career,
2) those who want to be the best at who they are in their current role.

 

Either way, Children's of Pittsburgh focused on the growth of their employees by providing a continuing education fund for those that want to attend a conference or other learning opportunity. For loyal employees who want to stay in same position, the organization still challenges them to improve in that role every year.

 

CHP provides online learning opportunities, leverages leadership and mentorship programs in which over 1000 people participate each year.

 

Ted brought this all home by stating that, "Hospitals need highly skilled employees and Patient Satisfaction is still relatively new to the industry." He spoke of combining "top-down" and "bottom-up" approaches, identifying specific behaviors that drive outcomes, and building accountability through better staff communication which correlates with patient safety.

 

So, here is your challenge - where are you as an HR or OD professional doing "The Vision Work"? We're all being targeted for improvement these days. I hope this post has inspired you in some way to take things to the next level, whatever your role in your organization.





Workforce Implications of the Affordable Care Act: Research in Progress Catalyst Learning
Better care, lower cost, improved health.  The triple aim of the Affordable Care Act is straightforward enough, but how will healthcare organizations achieve it?  To start, they must have coordination of care (ACOs, Patient-Centered Medical Homes), reduce readmissions, and have a system for population health/community-based care.   Last month at the National Fund for Workforce Solution's annual meeting, Randall Wilson, a Senior Project Manager for Jobs for the Future presented CareerSTAT's case for investing in frontline workers to achieve the aim.     

Simply put, frontline workers can help organizations extend care to more patients.  They can contribute to a highly skilled workforce by honing general skills like communication, customer service, and problem solving to developing specialized competencies such as clinical, observational, and supervisory ability.  They provide a pool from which health coaches, patient navigators, or care coordinators can be developed.  Of course, these opportunities come with challenges.  For one, no templates or standards exist for many of these new roles.  That's exacerbated by potential job reductions and cutbacks in talent development.  External challenges like ACA uncertainties and lagging payment models add to the pressure.  In spite of the challenges, investing today means frontline workers will be equipped to help their organization meet the higher expectations of tomorrow.

Contact Catalyst Learning (info@catalystlearning.com) to learn about solutions that help your front line workers prepare to seize the opportunities.



Pomp and Circumstance at Cleveland Clinic Catalyst Learning
Catalyst Learning’s Lynn Fischer recently had the honor of addressing over 50 Cleveland Clinic School at Work graduates.  It was an opportunity to reflect on Cleveland Clinic’s incredible commitment to School at Work; since 2005, the organization has had over 200 graduates!  As Catalyst Learning gears up for its 20th anniversary, it was also a time to be thankful for the many organizations like Cleveland Clinic that have helped us provide career development to over 14,000 employees. Click here to read full transcript and the five pieces of advice Lynn offered graduates as they move into a new chapter. Cleveland Clinic, lynnCleveland Clinic 2013



Race Against the Machine Catalyst Learning

Good Jobs, Good Companies and a Sustainable American Economy

The Hitachi Foundation's recent Pioneer Employer Hospital Initiative seeks to discover and promote the next generation of best practices in workforce management.  Read customer Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare's case study to learn how School at Work complements other "grow your own" initiatives at the organization.

Catalyst Learning's work with The Hitachi Foundation continued when Founder and CEO Lynn Fischer participated in a recent MIT-Hitachi Foundation sponsored Action Lab focused on strategies for building a sustainable economy.  M Erik Brynjolfsson, Economist and Director of the M.I.T. Center for Digital Business, as well as co-author of the book, Race Against the Machine, spoke about the demand for new skills that keep up with the digital progress of the last few decades.  He argued that an increasing reliance on technology has been great for business but fuels a growing socioeconomic inequality as companies have increased profits without increasing their workforce.

Brynjolfsson stated that technology can accomplish things that only a few years ago were thought to be beyond the reach of computers, yet computers tend to be narrow and literal-minded, good at assigned tasks but at a loss when a solution requires intuition and creativity - human traits. A partnership is the path to job creation in the future. Click here to read the New York Times article about Brynjolfsson's work and learn what he says is the key to wining the race against the machine.

Contact Lynn (lfischer@catalystlearning.com) to learn more about the action lab's conclusions.