Tune in! Don Antonucci, CEO of Providence Health Plan, is on Moments Move Us
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New Podcast Episode: The Three Cs of Leadership: Caring, Communication, and Curiosity with Don Antonucci
What You’ll Learn:
Healthcare is a basic human right, but it is also an ever-growing industry. And just like any other industry, it needs innovative minds. That’s where Betty Jo Rocchio, the Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Mercy, comes in. She believes that innovation isn’t about numbers, it’s about connection. Betty Jo says that by taking a closer look at the interests and needs of nurses, especially those on the frontline, she’s able to provide them more flexibility and time to live their lives. Creating a better work environment for her teams makes them better equipped to handle the day-to-day challenges of providing healthcare. As you listen, you’ll learn how to develop an individual approach to your workers so you can provide them with the work-life balance they really need.
THEMES: Work-life balance, Recruiting and retaining nurses, Nursing shortage, Travel nursing
“Healthcare is, everybody’s right, but it’s becoming more of a business. And my mother thought that nurses, in their next phase of their career would have to be very smart about business as well as nursing to be able to participate. And before I went off to school, I decided that, while I wanted to be a nurse, my heart was in nursing, that my head might have to have a little bit of business in it.”
“Covid provided opportunities for our nurses to travel more, to get out there a little bit, to control their own schedules, maybe a little bit more than they could before. So what we’re starting to see is they want that flexibility. They want to prioritize their work because they’re nurses, but they also have family lives that have to be taken into consideration. And that work-life balance has become more and more important. I think it was before, but I think it’s a non-negotiable in nursing right now. Figuring out what that looks like while still having the patients get the very best care; That’s what’s in front of all nursing leaders today.”
“A group of orthopedic surgeons started the first for-profit orthopedic hospital [in the Columbus, Ohio area] and they asked me to come along and build a great anesthesia group along with a group of anesthesiologists. I’ve just been given a lot of great opportunities that I’m just so thankful for, but I also never waste an opportunity. Take the opportunity to learn as much as you possibly can about whatever it is. Even if you think it doesn’t apply to you, I guarantee you, you’ll need that learning somewhere in your career. And I learned [in this experience that] healthcare is a business, on the front lines, making it happen. and that was just a really great experience, and they embraced me, asked me to be the Chief Nursing Officer at the hospital eventually. That was my start and had I not made that leap over to for profit, I might not have had that opportunity. But it was a really hard move to, to leave the patients in the not-for-profit world.”
“As women, we are asked every day to juggle multiple priorities and that’s the hallmark of a good leader. Being a change leader or thinking about doing something differently requires a certain amount of energy. And that requires placing priorities in your life where you are, so you have enough energy to make that leap. And I try with my leadership team to set that up so we’re not overburdening any one person, but we’re spreading it out amongst our team in how we divide up the work that we have. And then stretching everybody but stretching people according to priority and what you give them to handle and what you ask them to do. I’ve done it my whole career and sometimes people need a little more encouragement than others, but people gave me what I needed to get here today, and I feel like I have to give back and keep moving things forward and helping people stretch.
There are just naturally, ‘now,’ ‘near,’ and ‘far thinkers.’ The ‘now thinkers’ are really good in the day-to-day–They can make anything happen. The ‘near thinkers’ can look at a different world, even though they might not jump at it, they might stretch a little bit to there. And then the ‘far thinkers’ are those futuristic thinkers that see a vision and a plan. And my job on my leadership team is to make sure that my leaders who are ‘now thinkers’ are stretched near (but don’t stretch them too far, because they won’t have the energy.) And then the ‘near thinkers’ get to the far and then eventually we keep moving. The best ideas come from the ‘now,’ the ‘near’ and the ‘far thinkers’ sitting at the same table. And that’s where the magic happens.”
“[In 10 years,] I think in healthcare we’re going to see a ton of technology that helps our coworkers, our nurses, everybody at the clinical bedside, to be better and get things done faster, quicker, and deliver better patient outcomes without sacrificing our own personal self. When you take a look at the rate of automation outside of healthcare, it’s extreme. I’m starting to watch that come into healthcare a little. We’re starting to work on work environment, workflows, and what it means to our frontline caregivers to make it a frictionless experience for them. And some pieces of it will be adding in technology in spots we didn’t think about before. For example, if you’re in a hospital today, you’ll see nurses charting on the bedside computer, or they’ll bring in a portable computer. We’re starting now to dream about using our handheld phone and our apps that we use every day and starting to plan today for how do we use that, so the nurses, the patients, the families, everybody stays better connected and the communication flows better. [With technology] we could be doing something with a patient, a physical assessment, and charting it at the same time. Rather than waiting and going back and charting. So starting to think about where nurses want to spend their time and it’s not in charting. They want to spend more time with the patients. But we drag them away from the patient’s bedside. Well, let’s keep them by the bedside.
“Any opportunity we have to bring family, patient, physicians, nurses, everybody onto the same game page, we should really be thinking about that even if technology is a big part of it. We have to learn how to embrace that into workflow. We’re going start looking at it. Now’s the time.”
“When you’re a nurse, you’re a nurse first. It is a calling. It is a privilege to take care of patients and help those nurses in the clinical areas that are taking care of patients.”
“Going to the front lines and seeing what’s going on really helps you get a good picture of the decisions that you need to make. And I still practice because the best place to make decisions is by the bedside.”
“The world opens up when you have a lot of possibilities and you have the right people working on them.”
“There’s so many things to do in healthcare; there are so many things you can do today and the rest has to be put a parking lot to solve for later. So just making sure you understand what that is, and giving your all towards the top priority.”
“I have had so many great mentors along the way in my career. Everything that I’ve learned and everything I know and continue to learn is built by relationships. Getting close enough to people that are so smart that you can learn something from them and take it back to your daily life. And not just nursing. It’s areas in business and industry. I try to reach out and learn as much as I can from those that I deem are really smart.”
“Be open to the moments with your heart and your head and embrace everything that comes your way in life. Because it pays off eventually.”
“Sometimes trusting yourself and not rushing the process of how you get to somewhere gives you time to marinate in it and think about it from nine different ways and other people’s perspectives come in. Two heads are better than one, three is better than two, and four’s phenomenal. So, give it time.”
“Life is every bit as important as work. Life has to consume our thoughts on an equal basis. And I give our nurses, and everybody credit out there that said, ‘Enough is enough. We are not going to sacrifice our entire life, even though we love nursing, it’s a piece of who we are. It’s not our total being.”
“How much time do we spend at work? We should enjoy that. It should be a piece of what makes our heart and our head harmonious. And, and if not, I don’t blame people for stopping to think about what they’re doing. It’s a lot of time that you spend at work, so you should be happy.”
Explore transformative stories from healthcare executives as they share impactful moments of human connection from their professional journeys.