14 hospital leaders talk 2020 goals

The end of the calendar year is often a time to reflect and set goals for the future, both professional and personal.  

With this in mind, Becker's Hospital Review asked hospital and health system leaders to share the practices they want to add to their daily routine in 2020. Read their responses below, presented alphabetically.

Editor's note: The following responses were lightly edited for length and clarity.

Vicki Cansler
chief human resources officer of Piedmont Healthcare (Atlanta)

As opposed to my customary back-to-back meeting schedule, my goal for 2020 is to build "think" time and time for reflection into my daily routine. I fully believe that better and more thoughtful decisions are made when one allows time for thoughtful contemplation. 

Larry Coomes
chief executive of Queen of the Valley Medical Center (Napa, Calif.)

Intentionally taking 15 minutes midday to meditate/relax and refresh.

Adam Groshans
president of Mercy Health–Springfield (Ohio)

People often bond by joining in subtle negativity — complaining about weather, traffic, sports teams. I have challenged myself and my team to be cognizant of this behavior and to intentionally be positive in all circumstances. It may seem harmless, but the subtle negative undertones have a way of creeping into all that we do. 

Anna J. Kiger, DNP, RN
CNO of Sutter Health (Sacramento, Calif.)

I plan to set aside five to 10 minutes to focus and re-center at the beginning of each day and then again at midday. Minibreaks allow us an opportunity to refresh and re-energize.

Amy King
senior vice president and chief people officer for Centura Health (Centennial, Colo.)

I have always been a grateful person. However, sometimes, among the back-to-back meeting days, evening events, community service and hustle of family life, it is difficult to consciously remember to express gratitude in the workplace and at home. When I say the word "consciously," I mean taking the extra minute to provide the why behind the thank you or the impact a gesture or work outcome actually made. It is providing the why that offers the opportunity to profess a sense of gratitude that is far-reaching. It creates a more meaningful dialog and engages the individual or group in a different dimension.

The practice I will add to my daily routine in 2020 will be to write at least one thank-you note every day, and with each expression of gratitude, provide the impactful why. 

Jean Kutner, MD
CMO of UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital (Aurora)

Our days are so often filled with running to meetings and responding to dozens of emails. For the new calendar year, I would like to add a practice of daily expressing gratitude to others — letting at least one person per day know that I appreciate them and something that they have done. This intentional human interaction of acknowledgment will go a long way in spreading kindness and goodwill that hopefully will become part of others' routines, too.

Andre Machado, MD, PhD
chair of Cleveland Clinic's Neurologic Institute 

Exercise. Although most of us are exercising more regularly than in the past, exercise is not — at least for me — a daily routine. We can't fail to do what we preach, and if there is one thing that I would like all my patients to do,  it's to exercise daily. Regardless of whether the diagnosis is Parkinson's disease or degenerative spine disease — or no diagnosis at all — everyone can benefit from a daily fitness routine, doctor included.

Sandy Rader, DNP, RN
vice president of patient care services and CNO for UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside (Pittsburgh)

Hand-written thank-you notes are a practice that have made a difference across UPMC. It's been great to watch and feel the impact these notes have made since we committed to making them part of our everyday behaviors two years ago. My goal for 2020 is to carry out this practice with greater consistency. It's worth every minute of dedicated time to help make your colleagues feel special and appreciated. And it recognizes the behaviors and actions we want to see repeated, which is contributing to advance our employee and patient experiences.

We are also expanding our thank-you note practice with our nurse leaders sending notes to our physician colleagues. I actually have two baskets in my office: one that houses the notes I receive, and another that's full of thank-you notes for my use. It's a genuine, simple act, and so meaningful.

Diana Richardson
COO of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children (Boston)

I joined a wonderful team at Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children in October, and I am so grateful for the opportunity. I am humbled by the extraordinary care provided by my colleagues in our organization each and every day. As the new year begins, it is important to me to make sure I continue to take a few minutes every day to intentionally practice (and share!) daily gratitudes in the workplace. 

Eugene Scioscia, MD
chief experience officer for Allegheny Health Network (Pittsburgh)

Try creating a daily agenda — more than a calendar — where each element of the daily agenda focuses on your top three initiatives or goals for the year. In my case, that means every agenda item ties to our organizational goal of advancing patient experience for Allegheny Health Network in 2020.

Linda Venner, MD
senior medical director of med surg operations for Intermountain Healthcare (Salt Lake City) 

I am making at effort to be more present and mindful for each patient, professional and personal interaction. Specifically, I am making sure that there are no computer screens between me and who I am meeting with. I limit note taking as well, instead taking a few minutes to recap at the end of the meeting, and write summary points and next steps. During the conversation, I am making a focused effort to remain intentional, remain curious and to listen to perceive. Adding pauses to the conversation to draw out the speaker. This last does not come naturally to me!

Kevin Vermeer
president and CEO at UnityPoint Health (West Des Moines, Iowa)

Mindfulness. From setting an intention for the day to blocking a few minutes to breathe and regroup, it's something I want to keep doing for myself in the new year. In 2019, we actually created a set of customized mindfulness exercises for all 34,000 of our team members to use on a daily basis — that's just one example of how we continually invest in ways to support the wellness of our teams. I view that as a vital piece of our culture. It keeps us all focused on what's most important — people — especially in an industry environment subject to so much change. 

Alpa Vyas
vice president of patient experience at Stanford (Calif.) Health Care

Taking a couple of moments in the day to reflect on what I'm grateful for. It's easy to take whatever is maybe causing stress in one's own life and bring that forward. So how do we not or manage that better? Maybe it's just a reflection of gratitude and some level of mindfulness. I do try to do that any time I go to talk to patients and families because you want to be in a place where you're ready to listen and take the feedback and be helpful to that patient or family member. There are always things that are impacting day-to-day work, but how do you take a moment to at least reflect on all the good things?

Michael Yungmann
president of Mercy Health–Paducah and Irvine (Ky.)

Tell one associate each day what that person means to our ministry, that I appreciate the specific job he or she performs, and I'm glad that individual is here. Everyone appreciates being noticed by leaders, valued for the work they do and thanked for choosing to be part of this ministry.


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South Carolina medical center cuts 12 positions

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