God is in the Details

March 5, 2012 No Comments   

On August 19, 2010, Saint Joseph London opened its new replacement hospital, located just down the road from the old hospital in London, Kentucky. Both hospitals were simultaneously operational as patients were moved one-by-one to the new hospital by ambulance. 24 hours after the move, I still could not fully absorb or describe what I witnessed at Saint Joseph London, old and new.

My own training, experience and job accountabilities are about what can be better, should be next, or should be bigger. So, I was impressed watching the hospital team’s performance during the move. It wasn’t just clockwork, it was fine Swiss watch timing and precision. It was Beethoven’s 9th performed as the Boston Symphony only wishes it could.

On the morning of the move, it was very dark outside and raining heavily. The Saint Joseph London team gathered in prayer and disbursed to their stations across both campuses. The new hospital was pronounced open for patient care by Virginia Dempsey, President, at 4:55 a.m. and the transfer began. It was an honor for me to accompany the first patient from the old facility to the new. At 5:11 a.m., the new Saint Joseph London’s first patient entered her room after being given a Hollywood welcome by staff who gathered for pictures and warm greetings.

And so it went for each and every patient who followed. The team lined the new emergency department hallway awaiting each patient arrival. Peggy Green, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer, provided an anointing of hands with mints for the team as they waited.

The memories I will long keep include the staff hugs and smiles and pride and tears. Behind the perspiration, staff members were glowing with pride.

The team at the command center and the tracking board were incredible: Inez, Mike and Anthony on their radios within three feet of each other executing triage and staging of all the various teams; Connie giving each patient a final check prior to EMT transport; Christy constantly updating the board as each patient was put in queue and tracked through each step of the process; the six person teams lifting each patient from bed to stretcher and back again at both locations; and especially Libby Campbell, the command center leader, for her usual leadership strength and serenity.

The team practiced and perfected this mission through countless discussions and rehearsals – this should be required textbook learning for all of us. As Mother Theresa said, “God is in the details.”

I could find no flaw, though I tried hard, in the patient rooms’ perfect layout and finish. I complimented several leaders on this and each of them, including Virginia Dempsey, gave all the praise to the staff who, through mockup rooms, were allowed to design the space. A great way to build an “own your space” culture!

As I rode back and forth in the dark morning with the EMTs, I saw two church signs on the route lighted in the night and rain. They read, “The Son always shines” and “My soul rejoices in God’s greatness.” Perfection indeed.

I was honored for the opportunity to witness this historic event and especially for the ongoing blessing that all of us have to help serve those that serve our patients.

Mark Streety
Chief Innovations Officer
Saint Joseph Health System
424 Lewis Hargett Circle, Suite 160
Lexington, KY 40503

Saint Joseph Health System

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