Becker's 10th Annual Meeting Speaker Series: 3 Questions with Nicole Radford, Senior Director of Laboratory and Imaging for Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital

Nicole Radford, FACHE, MS, MT, serves as Senior Director of Laboratory and Medical Imaging for Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital.

On April 2nd, Nicole will speak at Becker's Hospital Review 10th Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place April 1-4, 2019 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Nicole's session, click here.

Question: What do innovators/entrepreneurs from outside healthcare need to better understand about hospital and health system leaders?

Nicole Radford: Healthcare is rather unique to other industries due to the inherent “life and death” situations for which we as leaders are ultimately responsible. While we most certainly must think outside of the box these days to maintain or achieve greater outcomes with ever-reduced resources, there are certain limits to what can be done—due to both ethical and regulatory reasons. For that reason, health system leaders may be more apprehensive initially than what may be comfortable for some outside of the industry. As long as innovators and entrepreneurs outside of the profession realizes, honors, and respects these things, they can go far when working with hospitals and health system leaders.

Q: What one strategic initiative will demand the most of your time and energy in 2019?

NR: For me, the one strategic initiative that will demand most of my time and energy in 2019 is the successful implementation of our new Enterprise-wide EMR system. This new system also includes a new Lab Information System (LIS) and a new Radiology Information System (RIS), which, needless to say, is keeping my service lines busy. It is very important to us that we take advantage of this investment that we’re making into our technology to make sure that we capitalize on the designed efficiencies. In order to do that, we have to work with EVERYONE to break away from the “It’s how we’ve always done it” mentality and manage the inherent change that comes with such a big endeavor. The good thing is that this has been the message from every leader within our organization, so we’ve achieved the consistency aspect needed for effective change management.

Q: Tell us about the last meaningful interaction you had with a patient.

NR: Every interaction that I have with patients have meaning and are unique. The last interaction that I had with a patient that provided me with yet another reminder of the “why” behind the “what” that we all do occurred in a waiting room. I’d come to the waiting room to speak with the clerk at the desk, and this middle-aged, developmentally disabled gentleman called (well, yelled) for me to come and see him. I stopped what I was doing and went over to check on him. He was there with two caregivers, and they helped him and I communicate. The patient asked me “Do you have a fishing pole?”, which, needless to say, took me off guard. I explained that I don’t have a fishing pole because I’m terrible at fishing. He must have thought it was the funniest thing because he let out a very loud, contagious belly laugh that got EVERYONE in the waiting room laughing! He went on to tell me that he has a fishing pole, but he lost the reel and want to find it. Before I could say anything else, he asked if I could dance. I blushed and said that I could, but I don’t like to dance at work. He said that he loves to dance and will dance anywhere he wants to…and began dancing in his wheelchair. We had a wonderful time and a wonderful conversation that went on from there. The lesson that I learned from this interaction is that we should never be too busy to have a simple conversation with someone! I ran into that waiting room with business on my mind, but I left with a huge smile on my face and a pep in my step because of this fun exchange!

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