For one week every year, our industry celebrates National Hospital Week, an opportunity to recognize valued hospital employees and tell them how much we appreciate them for the work they do on behalf of our patients every day.
I would like to dedicate today’s Insights entry to the 5,600 whose calling has led them to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Very few outside of health care understand how challenging the past 12 months have been. The rising cost of health care, combined with caring for sicker patients, reductions in government funding and the market's unwillingness to meet those rising costs, have created the most daunting times any of us can remember. In short, we are being asked to do more for less money – and at a higher quality.
Because of the work our staff did in response to these challenges, NHRMC had perhaps the greatest year in our hospital's history. Our quality metrics were excellent and often among our industry's leaders - another way of saying patients received the right care, the most efficient care and the safest care. This enabled them to live longer, with better life quality, and with less reason to return for more care. It also enabled them to return to their families and as productive members of the work force.
This is the very core of what we do. In a year in which we were judged, and even paid, based on how well we care for patients, our staff, in partnership with our physicians, excelled.
At the same time, patient satisfaction remained strong, and because of the staff’s professionalism in serving a large volume of patients, we enjoyed one of the strongest financial years in memory. While most of our peer hospitals have reduced jobs and payment programs, we are poised to meet future challenges without those options.
I was plenty aware of our staff’s quality and compassion before late January, but the work that our employees did before, during and after the winter storms – and the attitude with which it was performed – reinforced for the community what I already knew. By the time the third night fell without 2,000 of us having left the hospital, we were tired and missed our homes and families. But for our staff to take the attitude, as so many of them did, that they were exactly where they were supposed to be says all that is needed about their dedication to our patients.
At some point, our work in the health care field is no longer a job, or even a profession. For the best in our field, it is a calling. The winter storms were just one of the many examples in the past year of how our staff views the work they do as exactly that – a calling.
Those days may have been the finest moment of our finest year together at NHRMC. I am thankful every day for the care our staff provides for our patients. And though the challenge is even greater this coming year, I know we'll all be equally proud 12 months from now.
For the past 10 years, Jack Barto has been President and CEO at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, a 769-bed regional referral medical center serving Southeastern North Carolina. The medical center is licensed as a Level II Trauma Center and provides emergency medical services for New Hanover County. Its unique array of specialty services includes cardiac care, oncology, and neurology, and standalone hospitals for women’s and children’s services, orthopedic care, psychiatric care and inpatient rehabilitation. To learn more about NHRMC, please visit www.nhrmc.org. Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected]. Like NHRMC on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nhrmcnc, or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nhrmc.
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