May 12, 2016

Your Voice. Your VUMC article series: VUH oncology pharmacy, HR partner to create a ripple effect

Vanderbilt University Hospital (VUH) pharmacy employees are on the frontlines of ensuring the right medications are delivered quickly and safely to our adult inpatients and clinic patients across the Medical Center. Specifically, the VUH oncology pharmacy division serves all inpatient and outpatient chemotherapy patients.

What started as a partnership between VUH oncology pharmacy department and Human Resources after last year’s Staff Community Pulse Survey has expanded to other areas throughout the adult pharmacy’s inpatient and clinic operations due to the success of new initiatives to make VUMC a better place to work.

After last year’s survey, the VUH oncology pharmacy department was able to learn from the results and focus in on improving employee engagement. HR Consultant Teea Moore helped the team get started. She held Insight and Ideas sessions with the department and met with employees on a one-on-one basis to discuss their concerns. She then partnered with the department leader to review the concerns and discussed creative ways to address them.

Mark Sullivan, executive director of inpatient and clinic pharmacy operations, and the department worked together to implement several new initiatives. From morning huddles, to recognizing staff in the department newsletter and handing out thank you cards, employees began to express gratitude for the recognition.

“One staff member wrote a note referencing the book "The 5 Love Languages" and stated ‘words of affirmation’ was their language, and the thank you card motivated them to continue doing what they do best,” said Sullivan.

The success of these initiatives created a ripple effect and led to the implementation of several strategies in other departments throughout the adult pharmacy.

“Communication on all levels and through various avenues is important to staff. Employees want to be heard and their issues and concerns addressed,” said Moore. “We are all busy, but a little face-to-face, genuine communication goes a long way.”  

Scott Thompson, manager for the Oncology Pharmacy, said “the individualized work from HR to directly address the team’s needs really made it an enjoyable process.”

Soon the department discovered employee recognition and exceptional customer feedback go hand in hand.

During this year’s VUMC Culture Survey, it is important speak up and let your voice be heard to improve VUMC as a whole, and to ensure we are living out all of the Credo behaviors — especially making those we serve our highest priority.

“We take care of exceptionally challenging patient populations with world renowned physicians here at VUMC,” said Sullivan. “The importance of everyone’s voice in that effort to recognize the small things that can be tweaked to make that care better is vital to what we do. Our patients and their families are worth it.”

Be on the lookout for more feature stories about departments at VUMC partnering with HR to not only improve and build on their successes, but improve VUMC as a whole. How can you do your part?

The 2016 VUMC Culture Survey begins Monday, May 16.