Jane: When you were prerounding with your nurses, you reviewed with them everything about the patient. Talk a little bit about how you do that.
Abel: It’s important to review the patient experience aspect, which always starts with patient safety. I have to know, first of all, what’s going on with the diagnosis. Because if I go to the patient, and I don’t know anything about them medically, then I’m just some guy checking on their well-being. Then I want to make sure that my team is adhering to the same script that we all follow for communication and compassion. What I’ve seen is we have a gap in compassion and making personal connections. This is the time I take to coach on that personal connection they’ve harvested. The people who are strong in this, I give them kudos. The people who are struggling, I give them pointers.
Jane: I loved it when you said to one of your nurses, “I challenge you to get this done by the end of the shift.” Is that something you use a lot?
Abel: Oh yes. That’s how we work as a team. We are constantly working to perfect things. I always leave them with challenges. I feel that part of developing a team means that, even with my high performers, I have to teach them something. If I don’t teach the high performers something because they believe they’ve arrived, they’ll start to lose interest, or start to veer from the goal of the team. We really want to make sure we’re continuing on one path.
Jane: You’ve made a huge improvement in your HCAHPS scores. What are you most proud of?
Abel: As a manager, I’m most proud to see the development of my team. I see a nurse coming in, brand new, nervous, and they go through the internship. Then you see them three months later, and they’re getting better. Six months later, a year later, they’re precepting others. A year and a half later, they’re charge nurses. That’s what I live for. My proudest moment is when I go to a room, and the patient tells me their nurse did a wonderful job.
Jane: Anything else you’d like to add?
Abel: I really like our focus on the mission and vision. I think it’s made our work very deliberate. I was a nurse before I joined HCA Healthcare, and when you do good at the bedside, you make personal connections. But here, I feel like every day my work is more focused and, as a result, I know where I am on the journey. So I don’t get intimidated by the big tasks, because I know I have the tools to accomplish them.
Watch Jane and Abel’s full discussion about improving the patient experience: