Problem-Solving and Team-Building What if the physical and occupational therapy suite is at the opposite end of the hospital from your speech-language treatment offices—and the lack of communication and collaboration is affecting patient and employee satisfaction? Or what if your urban hospital provides outpatient audiology services to many patients who live closer to ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   May 01, 2012
Problem-Solving and Team-Building
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Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   May 01, 2012
Problem-Solving and Team-Building
The ASHA Leader, May 2012, Vol. 17, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.AN3.17062012.np
The ASHA Leader, May 2012, Vol. 17, online only. doi:10.1044/leader.AN3.17062012.np
What if the physical and occupational therapy suite is at the opposite end of the hospital from your speech-language treatment offices—and the lack of communication and collaboration is affecting patient and employee satisfaction?
Or what if your urban hospital provides outpatient audiology services to many patients who live closer to the hospital’s suburban outpatient facility—but the suburban location has none of the equipment or staff required?
Audiologists and speech-language pathologists who work in health care settings tackled these real issues—and many others—as part of their participation in ASHA’s 2011 Health Care Leadership Development Program.
All 30 of those selected to participate completed the year-long program, which helps participants acquire essential leadership skills, develop interpersonal and teaming skills, and develop an ongoing support network. The program is designed to encourage program graduates to use their new knowledge and skills in future professional and volunteer leadership roles.
The program began with a full-day program at the national office last spring, and continued with six webinars on a variety of leadership topics. Each participant also was required to develop and complete an individual leadership project.
Projects
The leadership projects addressed a wide range of issues. SLP Kathleen Holterman, clinical supervisor of speech and hearing at the Somerset (New Jersey) Medical Center, realized the physical distance separating the speech-language offices from the physical and occupational therapy, as well as the cramped speech-language treatment space, were detrimental to collaboration, communication, and teamwork. Holterman’s project was to find ways to increase effective communication among all rehabilitation staff members. She created a model of communication for rehabilitation staff members and used this model to create communication workshops for all health care employees.
In Chicago, Mike Hefferly, clinical audiology manager at Rush University Medical Center, worked with various administrative departments to develop and propose a feasible business plan to expand clinical audiology services to the hospital’s suburban outpatient health center. He outlined the vision and scope of the project and conducted a cost/benefit analysis.
Lindsey Lambert, an SLP in the Voice and Speech Laboratory of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, was concerned that the otolaryngology residents did not understand the needs of laryngectomy patients, and were unprepared to manage post-operative patients’ tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) or heat and moisture exchanger (HME). Lambert developed a training lecture, “Rehabilitation of the Laryngectomized Patient: TEP and HMEs,” and developed a laryngectomy needs kit that is now permanently stocked in the hospital emergency room. She also has developed informal presentations on TEPs and HMEs for nurses and respiratory therapists.
In Ohio, Martha Coen-Cummings extended the reach of a popular program, “Sponsored Silence.” This project, developed by the Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing-Association, demonstrates the importance of communication by having a community leader (such as an elected official or school principal) use only an augmentative communication device to communicate while following his or her daily routine. Coen-Cummings organized or mentored others to organize 11 “Sponsored Silence” events, developed a PowerPoint presentation for a meeting of state association presidents, included information about sponsoring a similar event on the Ohio association website, and helped create three YouTube videos of past events.
Lessons Learned
In their final project reports, participants reflected on their experience. “This leadership program has offered me the opportunity to help others while helping myself,” Lambert said. “In a sense, this project will always continue as I feel that my personal leadership goals are always a work in progress.”
Hefferly’s project—off-site audiology services—proved too costly to implement, but he still values the program. “The project has allowed—and in many ways forced—me to exercise and develop more effective leadership skills, many of which were reinforced by the leadership program,” he said. “It has also expanded my world here at Rush, getting to meet and know other individuals.”
Holterman said the interprofessional communication project has helped her grow “as a manager, leader, and team player. The skills I’ve learned have allowed me to grow in my abilities to lead my team and in my abilities to become a better clinician.”
Coen-Cummings appreciates the program for the opportunity to lead others through mentoring, co-organizing events with colleagues, and influencing others “in my community, state association, and beyond regarding the importance of communication.”
For more information about ASHA’s leadership development programs, including the names of all 2011 health care participants, go to ASHA’s leadership development program website.
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FROM THIS ISSUE
May 2012
Volume 17, Issue 6