On "A wake-up call for the industry" (July 15, p. 23), about how the industry has strayed from its core values:
Your letter was dead-on. Healthcare is different than most, if not all, businesses-it's more like a ministry than an industry. Our customers entrust us with their most sacred asset-their medical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Contrary to popular belief, healthcare management is still fun. It is satisfying knowing that you made a difference in the lives of so many. There is really no higher distinction than faithfully serving others.
But the reality is that in healthcare and even more so in business in general, we have let our fundamental values of mutual respect, accountability and professionalism slip away. The stated values of many leaders are no longer their practiced values. And the ingredient that is absolutely essential for successful leadership-humility-has been consumed by egotism.
It seems these values are not being taught in our institutions of higher learning. We turn out managers with MBAs and MHAs who have not experienced the values of humility and responsible leadership, where we openly recognize one another's strengths and weaknesses in a blame-free environment. We do need to get back to our roots, and there are 10 of them that are as applicable today as they were when they were cut in stone.
President, chief executive officer
Poplar Springs Hospital
I found it interesting, after reading your ponderings on whether we in healthcare have become so enamored with being part of corporate America that we have forgotten our people-focused mission, and your suggestion that we each become "quiet revolutionaries" in our part of the healthcare world, to turn the page and find Modern Healthcare asking "Are you powerful?" and requesting votes on the "100 most powerful people in healthcare."
It appears that Modern Healthcare may be as much in need of a "quiet revolution" as anyone on its subscriber list.
Chief compliance officer
Banner Health System
As a former assistant administrator in a Psychiatric Institutes of America hospital, the division that almost brought down the old National Medical Enterprises, I can just say "amen" to your column.
I have affectionately described my departure from PIA in the following way: "When the middle managers-that were regional administrators-were more delusional and grandiose than the patients we had residing in the `locked unit' of the hospital, I knew it was time for a change."
Being human-and treating employees and patients as such-is far more important than "cooking the books" to make sure your bonus looked good.
Director, pharmacy services
White River Medical Center
It's a calling, folks" says it all. Thank you for your thoughts and notes in this issue and in many other ones. I regularly use your letter as part of our management meetings as examples found in our own organization.
I have been here at the Visiting Nurse Association of the Inland Counties for nearly 25 years, the last 12 as chief executive officer. I have stayed with this organization because I can and do make a difference in the lives of our patients and our staff on a daily basis. Our VNA is a thriving, growing organization.
It is so simple: Satisfied staff provide quality care, creating satisfied patients, which leads back to satisfied staff. Our job as managers is to set the standards, adequately fund the programs and step out of the way.
Thank you for your Publisher's Letters. I look forward to them.
President, chief executive officer
Visiting Nurse Association of the Inland Counties
On "No shame in crying" (June 17, p. 62), about how executives shouldn't be ashamed of showing their emotions:
Thank you for your letter. I, too, find myself with tears in my eyes and sometimes unable to continue when speaking about topics that I care passionately about.
Being in positions of leadership in both military and civilian medical settings, I am frequently called upon to speak to groups of subordinates. I realize that there are those who may at times misinterpret my emotional outpouring. However, over the years, I have come to not let my tears prevent me from saying what I know in my heart that my audience needs to hear. I believe that my troops appreciate having a leader who cares that much about them and our mission.
I was glad to hear from someone else who is not ashamed.
Marine Col. John Williams
Chief of professional services
330th Combat Support Hospital
Arlington Developmental Center
University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis