JPS Health Network's SVP's list of effective leadership necessities for today's leaders

Lara Burnside is the senior vice president and chief experience officer at Fort Worth, Texas-based JPS Health Network. 

Ms. Burnside will serve on the panel "What Patient-Designed Collections Would Look Like" at Becker's 10th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference on Nov. 7-10 in Chicago. 

To learn more and register, click here.

Becker's Healthcare aims to foster peer-to-peer conversation between healthcare's brightest leaders and thinkers. In that vein, responses to our Speaker Series are published straight from interviewees. Here is what our speakers had to say.

Question: What is the smartest thing you've done in the last year to set your system up for success?

Lara Burnside: We did a couple of things very intentionally and I was given responsibility for implementation:

1. Create a Care for the Caregiver program designed to support our care teams using a framework and approach that is transferrable to all crises that may arise. The Care for the Caregiver team aims to recognize that the well-being of our workforce directly shapes the quality of care we deliver to the communities we serve. Also, the Care for the Caregiver team exists to improve the well-being of the JPS workforce. We take an individual, team and organizational perspective on well-being and offer a proactive approach to meeting the evolving needs of our healthcare organization. We have also established a framework for dealing with crises. Our Care for the Caregiver approach is intentional, relational and integrated throughout the network, existing for the well-being of our team and all the communities we serve. This team has implemented interventions that serve up to 2500 support encounters per week and thousands of individuals are impacted by individual and group interventions.

2.) Build strong relationships with our physicians to engage them in human-centered care and ways to improve and enhance the delivery models. These partnerships involve a variety of physicians (some in leadership roles and some not) and focus on learning and development for our physicians leading to a deeper understanding of the foundations and fundamentals of human-centered care while at the same time building a sense of community among our physician/APPs. Partnering with our CMO has proven to be a way to connect with our physician teams across the network to create ways to serve our teams better and the patients and communities we serve. We have developed a learning platform called our PX Mastery Program. The PX Mastery Program is a 10-course curriculum designed to create dyad partnerships between clinicians and operational leaders, allowing them to become internally certified in patient experience. The curriculum is designed to enhance knowledge, skills, abilities, and communication regarding tactics and behaviors associated with patient-centered care. This program is built on the foundation of Learn-Try-Share. Once participants complete a course, they will try the new behavior, ask their peers and teams to try it, and then share and communicate about how it worked and what impact it had on their patients and themselves. The outcome of our communications questions and dimensions is an increased raw score average of 6.5 points.

Q: What are you most excited about right now and what makes you nervous?

LB: What makes me nervous is probably the same thing that makes everyone nervous right now — the workforce. Specifically, high turnover rates, shifts in employee needs and desires, flexibility requests, leadership competencies necessary for leading into the future, and engagement levels falling to the lowest levels. We've got our job cut out for us! Leading through high acuity levels and high volume, patient experience levels declining nationally, reimbursement levels and models changing, and yet quality of care remains of the utmost importance. There are so many challenges and I worry about those working so hard to lead and work through this daily. Well-being has become more important than ever. I'm sure you have heard this numerous times in the past several months, "We can't recruit our way out of this." Our retention of the team we have is critical. As leaders, it is our responsibility to lead as we’ve never led before — keeping a people-first mindset and looking for ways to support and care for our teams so they can keep coming back to do this sacred work.

Q: What will healthcare executives need to be effective leaders for the next five years?

LB: I ran a simple question early this year on LinkedIn to gain insight from fellow leaders on what leadership traits they felt are important today. Here is what I heard from that post and a list of leadership necessities I derived from the feedback I received.

1. Truly care about our teams (I even heard the word “love” used multiple times).

2.  Hold people to a very high standard

3. Communicate often and importantly – Listen

4. Use data to tell your story and drive actions

5. Develop your team and delegate for growth opportunities

6. Recognize great work

7. Be flexible and adaptable

8. Bring really great people to the team – and keep them!

9. Show empathy

10. Be vulnerable and transparent – connect to why

11. Inclusion matters

12. Bring Joy!

This list is meaty and layered and is certainly not what I would consider easy. We've always considered some of these things to be soft skills. These skills are some of the hardest to learn and consistently implement. They are also what can bring real results. Especially in healthcare, people are driven by passion and purpose. Connecting teams back to why they went into healthcare in the first place is a necessity today. The days are challenging, and without that intense connection back to "why," we could see more and more turnover, burnout and our healthcare team members choosing other professions. 

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