“The best companies in the world are those that have outstanding frontline leadership.”
That’s no. 10 of my Maxims of Leadership, and it is evidenced every single day at Texas Children’s. Our organization, which is innovating and growing at such an amazing pace, is propelled by our people. Our incredible staff and employees are why we are one of the best organizations in the world. Recently, when I had an opportunity to visit with our Emergency Center preceptors, I enjoyed being reminded yet again just how true Maxim no. 10 is.
By definition, a preceptor is a teacher responsible for upholding a certain law or tradition – a precept. Our preceptors throughout the organization are the nurses who train new nurses to care for our patients, upholding our high standard of care. Just in the EC, our preceptors have trained 47 nurses and eight emergency medical technicians (EMTs) since October 1 – 13,900 hours spent training and teaching in less than a year. Across the organization, we’ve had about 1,100 clinical orientees since October 1 who’ve received more than 280,000 hours of training. As you can see, our preceptors are making an awesome contribution.
Our preceptors in units throughout Texas Children’s impart wisdom and practices that can’t be found in textbooks or taught in a classroom. They nurture our culture and create a sense of warmth, security and family for nurses who are just starting out and getting a foothold in their careers. This instills confidence and inspires excellence, helping ensure that our new nurses transition more seamlessly into our organization.
Essentially, like all good teachers, preceptors give their “students” a model to which to aspire. And the really great teachers know something else that’s just as important – they know when and how to give their students the space to grow and demonstrate just how much and how well they’ve learned. Actually, I like the way Carrie Stocker puts it. Carrie is a nurse who joined us a few months ago and recently completed orientation with three awesome preceptors. She explains it like this:
Preceptors must master the art of dancing. My preceptors knew when to lead and when to follow. The best dance partners know each other and each other’s movements really well so they can make adjustments in the moment. My preceptors’ constant adjustment from leading to following ensured for my maximum growth. By providing a gradual release of responsibility, my preceptors first took the lead and then smoothly and confidently allowed me to take the reins. They had equipped me quickly with the skills I needed to be able to dance with the stars here at TCH!
Well said Carrie. There is absolutely an art to leading and following and knowing when to do which.
The time that our preceptors spend teaching and molding new nurses fortifies the organization in immeasurable, yet very tangible ways. And quite honestly, that’s true of every single person here – clinical and non-clinical – who takes the time to help teach a colleague a new skill or a better or more efficient practice. As Texas Children’s continues to grow at such a staggering rate, we rely on everyone’s willingness to do that. And I get it – some days, that’s hard. Our patient volume is growing, we have more patients with higher acuity, and we feel that across the organization. Daily, we balance that with training and teaching all the new Texas Children’s staff and employees we are aggressively onboarding to help us care for all of those precious patients. All told, our workforce of 10,000 will grow to 15,000 in three years – yes, 50 percent.
But the way I see it, this growth in volume and workforce is an amazing opportunity to serve our mission. The reason we are blessed with all of you – staff and employees who are hands down the very best at what you do – is because we are meant to use every person and every gift we have to fulfill our mission. We are meant to mold others and to advance care. We are meant to heal children and women for years to come. That’s why it’s so very important to share our gifts and inspire our people. It’s what we’ve always done, and it’s why we’re one of the best organizations in the world.