Leadership Calls Keep Nurses in the Loop
The nursing leadership team at Cleveland Clinic rely on monthly “High Five Calls” to communicate important initiatives, programs and messages to front-line staff.
In a health system with approximately 12,000 nurses, finding creative ways to communicate effectively with them can be a challenge, says Kelly Hancock, MSN, RN, NE-BC, executive CNO of Cleveland Clinic. The health system uses many avenues to spread messages among nurses, from huddles to newsletters and the Zielony Nursing Institute website. One way it makes sure everyone is one the same page – from leaders to bedside nurses – is through High Five Calls.
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Implemented three years ago, High Five Calls are monthly conference calls between Hancock, Cleveland Clinic’s eight associate chief nursing officers, CNOs from the community hospitals and a marketing manager. “It’s a great way to come together as a leadership team and discuss where we are headed,” says Hancock. “People are thirsty for this information.”
Each 30-minute phone conference covers one topic related to a program, initiative or message the Zielony Institute is promoting. The focus may be on employee engagement, patient experience, quality and safety, and so on. For example, a recent High Five Call centered on a roll-out plan for Professional Practice Model (PPM) Huddle Boards. The dry erase boards are imprinted with the PPM and placed in all nursing units and inpatient areas to help staff understand how their day-to-day tasks relate to the overall mission of nursing. The executive nursing leadership team selects topics for High Five Calls approximately six months out, though the agenda can change if a pressing issue arises.
After the phone calls, the marketing manager and a human resources business partner develop a communication memo outlining the topic and key points and send it to all participants. Then the CNOs share the memo with leadership teams at their community hospitals. In addition, the marketing manager populates a staff meeting template highlighting the important information from the High Five Call. CNOs and other nursing leaders use the templates at staff meetings on individual units.
“We share the High Five messages with our staff through several venues, including our mini meetings, newsletters, web pages, staff meetings, poster board, flash emails, rounding discussions and safety huddles,” says Deborah Small, MSN, BSN, RN, NE-BC, CNO of Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital. “The High Five Calls bring a sense of unity to our leadership teams and nurses.”
The next month’s High Five Call begins with a short discussion of the message previously shared, including any feedback received. These responses are invaluable to Hancock and her team. For instance, bedside nurses relayed opinions about the quality of the PPM Huddle Boards. When the Zielony Institute ordered new boards it made some changes. Nurses have offered dozens of suggestions, from ways to recognize seasoned nurses to insight on establishing safety huddles.
“Everybody wants their voice to be heard. Effective two-way communication helps drive employee engagement, which has an impact on quality care, clinical outcomes and retention,” says Hancock. “High Five Calls are one way we ensure we have a hard-wired process in place to communicate to frontline caregivers.”