Wednesday, January 13, 2010


One of the more enjoyable things I do from time to time is a WalkRound. I wrote a guest column for Healthcare Executive, (Nov./Dec. 2009) a magazine from the American College of Healthcare Executives, about the benefits of a WalkRound. A WalkRound is a walk in the shoes of my co-workers, learning from and helping with their jobs for a designated period of time.

In a recent WalkRound, I was with Beth, one of our housekeepers. She was cleaning in our inpatient unit when I had the chance to join her. She took the time to show me the process for cleaning rooms while they are occupied. I was impressed with both the efficiency and thoroughness of her efforts. After a few words of explanation, it was my turn to help. I put on a fresh pair of gloves and off I went. I didn’t need to introduce myself to the first patient as I knew the fellow. He was a little confused at first, but quickly caught on when I shared with him the value of a WalkRound. I dusted his room, cleaned the bathroom, and then dry mopped the floor. We chatted as I cleaned and I was pleased to hear his praise for the staff during his current stay. Soon enough I completed my tasks (not quite as quickly as Beth but I did try to be just as thorough.) I asked if he needed anything else and was off to the next room.

I spent the next couple hours working with Beth as she moved from room to room and then spent some time in the nurse’s station cleaning the break room. We made a trip to the laundry area to check on some special needs from the OR and then made a garbage run through the Healing Garden and cafeteria.

I told Beth my first job in a hospital was in housekeeping. As a 13 or 14 year old, I would clean the delivery rooms and operating rooms of the Boone County Hospital after school. My dad was the administrator at BCH. It was the first of many jobs there through high school and I worked at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics as a college student. Watching my dad enjoy his occupation and those early jobs in various departments hooked me. I simply love the complexity and soul of the hospital. Beth is a prime example of these two things. We have something like 150 different job descriptions at GRMC. We have people of all types, educational backgrounds, skill sets, talents, and interests all working together to deliver the best care possible. The complexity is obvious, but so is the soul. Hospitals are remarkable places because of the commitment of each of the staff members, dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others. That’s the heart and soul of every hospital. I am proud of the women and men that make GRMC special and it was my privilege to spend the morning with Beth as she reminded me the importance of thorough cleaning and the pride she takes in a job well done.

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent GRMC’s positions, strategies, or opinions.


Anonymous said...

found your site today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later ..

Helen Keene Myles said...

Good Day, Todd (Dr.),

I enjoyed your Jan 13, 2010 post. I was impressed with your WalkRound experienced with Beth, cleaning rooms and you experience at age 13 or 14 reported here.

I encountered your message as I was instructed to visit this site for a discussion assignment. This is my second encounter with a lecture of yours. I first encountered a lecture via a media resource DVD, Laureate (2008) Understanding Health Care Administration. I am matriculating Master's of Healthcare Administration, MHA, Walden University.

I did notice when your lecture segment of the same video media lecture occurred, I particularly took notice of the wealth of information you delivered; it did grabbed my attention I recall. I am gathering that your overall experience as well as your many WalkRound experiences are responsible for the apparent humility that is demonstrated in your leadership style. Thank you for all the imformation.

Helen Keene Myles