Our impact on patients

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By Johannon Olson

I knew I was in a very different place when I walked into Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford my first day in March. There were the red wagons parked in our hallways, the anesthesiologists who serenaded their patients with the latest Disney tunes and the well-loved stuffed animals waiting patiently on the gurney for their owners’ return from surgery.

It was clear that this was not only a place where people go to extraordinary lengths to care for our patients, but a place that truly celebrates kids.

Although the “patient first” mentality and approach were already ingrained, it was not clear how to apply that in many of the unique and often complex systems that we use to support our daily work. We began the search for our grand “opportunity statement.” We reviewed our internal mission, vision and values and core goals. We turned to our leaders for advice.
We looked outside to respected companies and mentors. What are they doing? How are they achieving spectacular results? We read books and visited other teams that were outperforming their peers. I began asking, how can we use that perspective to guide our decisions and teams?

The answer came a few weeks later in the form of an inquisitive little patient. With a head of brown curls and a heart-melting smile, she arrived in our pre-op area one morning for a life-changing brain surgery. She surprised the team when she pulled out a list of questions for her neurosurgeon that she had carefully prepared. There were many serious and thoughtful queries like “How many years did you study to become a surgeon?” and “Do you only do surgery on kids, or adults, too?” But it was the final question that brought many of us to tears – it simply asked “When can I jump off the coffee table again?” We immediately began sharing the note among the team. Everyone’s reaction was the same: That is what we do! We work together to send these children home to their normal lives and loved ones with the best experience and outcomes possible. We are using this story to guide and remind us to focus on constantly improving the entire patient experience. We are doing this by looking at our processes from the patient and family perspective and asking “What do you value?” We are taking this perspective to our teams and asking them the same question. Together, we are creating the ultimate patient, staff, and provider environment so we can help our patients get back to “jumping off of coffee tables.”

By Johannon Olson, Administrative Director, PeriOperative and PeriAnesthesia

Discover more about our Surgical Team for Children.

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