KentuckyOne Health Vice President of Healthy Communities
Alice Bridges on Leading by Example and Respecting Uniqueness
As KentuckyOne Health Vice President of Healthy Communities Alice Bridges sees it, a good leader knows that actions can speak louder than words.
“Nothing is more important than being and doing, rather than just saying,” according to Alice. “We can talk all day about what we want, and the culture we want to have, and the way we want our work environment to be. But if we don’t live it, it doesn’t go very far.”
This is how Alice interprets the first part of the following Leadership Commitment: “I will lead by example and model the way by holding people accountable for behavior that is inconsistent with our mission or values. I will respect uniqueness and learn from others’ best practices with my commitment as an engaged leader.”
Alice sees inspiring leadership being demonstrated in the program she helped start with a grant from CHI’s Mission and Ministry Fund, the Health Connections Initiative (HCI).
The HCI team, which is led by a nurse navigator, makes home visits to “our most vulnerable people” – those who have been through one hospital admission and who, because of the complicated nature of their diseases, or because of their poverty and lack of resources, are most likely to land in the ER less than 30 days after a previous hospital admission.
These special people get extra help to face their challenges, Alice said. That includes having a nurse go with the patient to his or her first doctor visit after a hospital stay.
“Before the appointment, the nurse helps each patient make a list of questions they have for the doctor,” she said. “That way the patient can get more out of the visit. The nurse helps model for the patients how they should handle their interactions with doctors.”
In one case, a physician “talked down” to a patient, Alice said. Many patients would have let the doctor’s behavior go unchallenged.
“A lot of people don’t feel like they’re worthy of good treatment,” she said. “In this case, the nurse who accompanied the patient was not really in a position to correct the doctor, but she did hold him accountable. She did not accept unacceptable behavior. She was able to model for the patient the right way to deal with that doctor. I just loved that!”
Leaders must realize that “our organization’s purpose is about respecting the dignity of all people, especially the vulnerable,” Alice said.
Leaders must also realize that “there are lots of different work styles and personality styles. You can’t have just one kind of person. I think KentuckyOne’s culture-shaping process is really helping leaders have respect for the uniqueness of others.”
If uniqueness is highly valued, best practices will be valued, “no matter where they might come from. We find greatness in all parts of KentuckyOne Health. We can all learn from each other.”
Click here to learn more about the KentuckyOne Health Leadership Commitments.