Listen to Moments That Moved Us: Season 1 Recap on the Moments Move Us podcast.
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New Podcast Episode: Leading and Caring With Compassion with Kimberly Jarrelle
What You’ll Learn:
“If you have compassion with your team and you respect and celebrate your team, all of that will carry over to the patients that we serve.”
Kimberly Jarrelle, Chief Nursing Officer at Bon Secours Mercy Health, has made driving a culture of respect and compassion her north star because creating a psychologically safe environment is just as critical for the people you lead as the patients you serve. In this episode, Kimberly shares how her approach carries over to her patients and how she’s able to care for them, mind, body, and soul. As you listen, you’ll learn how to put your biases aside and get back to caring for people, no matter what.
THEMES: Empathy, Compassion, Understanding
“It was a Saturday, and I came in to check on the teams shortly after COVID started. There was a nurse at the nurses’ station, and she was clearly frustrated because she said, ‘Nobody knows what they’re doing because every time I turn around, things are changing.’ And so, I was so glad that I was there to be able to talk to her. And I explained to her that I understood her frustration, because it is hard, and it feels like nobody knows what’s going on because things are rapidly changing. And it’s not because people don’t know what’s going on, but it’s because of the fact that this is something we’ve never dealt with before. And every day they’re finding newer and better ways of doing things and managing these patients. And she was so grateful that I was there to sit and talk to her because she was frustrated. Me being able to sit down and take that time with her and acknowledge and again, empathize with her, really made a difference for that nurse.”
“You treat patients the way you want your family member treated when they come to this hospital. And we talk about that all the time with the nurse leaders huddle in the morning. They want to hear from each nurse. ‘Tell me about a personal connection that you made last night’ because making those personal connections for these patients is huge. You’re not just seeing the patient as a number or in the bed. This is a person that has a life outside of this hospital. And how did you connect with them?”
“There was a patient that was deaf, and she had a hard time connecting with the nurses. They called me to come see her and we got to know each other. And one of the things that we did [when] we found out she loved jewelry was we would all bring her in all kinds of different necklaces, and we would dress her up. And it just really made a difference because she was very frustrated. Her experience in the past led her to believe that because she was deaf, people wouldn’t care for her the same way. And so, when we found that out, we were like, ‘oh no, we’re going to exceed her expectations so that she feels safe, and she feels valued, and she feels heard.’ All the staff got involved and it made a difference for everyone on the team.”
“Today as a nurse leader, when I round and see patients, it brings me back to my why. So often I’ll just go in and I’ll pull up a chair and sit with a patient and hold their hand and I’ll have tears walking out of the room because it just fills my cup. And it’s just what makes a difference. The care that [nurses] can give and the compassion that we can share as the little things that really make an impact and really promote healing. It’s just such an incredible feeling.”
“As [nurses] were leaving night shift, they would be crying. And it just, they were short-staffed. Their calling was to do compassionate care and to hold a hand and be at the bedside. And with those challenges, a lot of times they didn’t have that time. And so just to pull them aside and sit and listen and give them that time to cry and let their guard down and know that it’s a safe environment and it would not be anything bad that would come from, it really made a difference.”
“It was myself and two other nurses, and we had a patient that wanted to deliver at home, and she pushed and pushed and pushed at home, and then was brought in to have a C-section. To see her there crying because most women, their whole life, they envision this beautiful birth. And she felt as though she was robbed from that because she was having to have a C-section. And so, myself and the two other nurses we met afterwards, and we said, ‘What can we do to create a beautiful birth experience (like what they have in the vaginal delivery) in a sterile OR? What is the barrier to having that baby skin to skin immediately after birth?’ And really, it’s the drape. It was the surgical drape. And we started meeting in my dining room and we started with construction paper and talking to people. We met someone that was willing to help us through the journey as far as getting the drape made, and so, we did, we are using it today!
We were in the newspaper and then, from there, it just kind of exploded. We were asked to come out to L.A. to receive an award from the bump.com. It’s this beautiful reception and we were there, and we got an award. It was just so humbling because really, we did it because we wanted to make a difference for these moms that weren’t afforded the opportunity to have a vaginal delivery and a beautiful birth experience. Something that we always say is, ‘Mom should be the first to hold their babies.’ And the operating room shouldn’t be an exception to the rule. The deliveries that we’ve seen using the drape, a lot of them, the baby stays there the whole time and the babies a lot of times are nursing before they even leave the OR, it’s just beautiful.”
“The support [for our patients] has to start with the support that we give our staff. They live it, they walk it every day, and I live by the belief if you have compassion and respect for your teams, and you celebrate your teams, all of that will carry over to the patients that we serve. We as leaders have to be consistently visible out on the floors, understanding what our teams are going through and to be empathetic towards them.”
“As nurses, we take an oath. We have to put our biases aside and care for everyone, no matter what. You have to put your biases aside and you have to care for all people. So, I decided as a nurse leader that I my passion would be to create a psychologically safe environment where there is respect and compassion for everyone.”
“Nurses go into nursing to make a difference. When you’re just documenting and giving out medications and doing the basics, you don’t feel accomplished. Nurses need and want that time back at the bedside with their patients to make a true connection; to hold their hands.”
“[When it comes to leadership] Be kind. I don’t pretend to be anything that I’m not. I stay true to myself.”
“If you have compassion with your teams and you respect your teams, you celebrate your teams. All of that will carry over to the patients that we serve.”
“We have got to see our patients like beautiful human beings. That’s just not a patient in the bed that they need us, and we need to get them back to the way they were outside of the hospital.”
Explore transformative stories from healthcare executives as they share impactful moments of human connection from their professional journeys.