Batched @ the Hospital


Lean Leap to Health Care #2
(click for Part #1)

by Scott McDuffee

Greeted by a guy in a royal blue volunteer's jacket, I was directed to the volunteer manager's office. I remember thinking hospitals seem a lot friendlier when you are not there to be treated for some acute ailment or injury.

I met with the manager of volunteer services; the one I had heard positive things about from the softball parent.We discussed the various opportunities for volunteering. I was forthright in my interest to not only help people but also to observe the inner-workings and challenges of the hospital (I didn't say “gemba” but I was thinking it).

We concluded that I might be well suited as a “Rounder”. A Rounder, appropriately, is someone who makes rounds. With obvious limitations on actions requiring a medically trained person, these volunteers visit the patients to”: 1) greet them, 2) ask about their experience, 3) ask to help record any challenges they are experiencing. BINGO!

This sounded perfect for my need to learn the language of a hospital as well as begin to mentally apply lean principles to these opportunities. I knew if I went to gemba with a questioning mind, the hospital would speak to me. I was really excited.

The volunteer manager must have recognized my exuberance when she re-emphasized the limitations of my role. I would have to constantly remind myself that I was just a volunteer; I would lose the job if I tried to lead a cross-functional A3 team to solve the biggest problems facing patient care. This aspect would be really challenging after years of being the change agent but I was ready to start.

I filled out the required paperwork assuming this would lead to an assignment to the volunteer schedule. Then, I was told to plan on orientation three weeks away. OUCH! Twenty-one days out seemed extreme; yet, there was an explanation. “Orientations are time consuming so we try to only do them once a month.”

I HAD BEEN BATCHED! Aha! See, I am seeing opportunities already.

Click for Part 3: Networking with Bison and Doctors

What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.

Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous articleAirbus "Violated Key Tenet of Lean"?
Next articleLean in Government Conference
Scott McDuffee
Scott is a Lean Change Leader who has worked in multiple manufacturing sectors. He blogged primarily about his steps taken to investigate switching into healthcare in 2009.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.