Over his 30-year career in pediatrics, Rudolph Valentini has enjoyed the benefits of working alongside talented medical professionals across a spectrum of specialties. He says often the most insightful perspective on a patient comes from those on the front lines.
“You should always listen to the mom and to the nurse because the people who are closest to the situation almost always know the truth,” says Valentini, M.D., FAACP, chief medical officer of Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. “If you go into a situation thinking you already understand it, then you're mistaken.”
Valentini adds that it's not enough to just seek out those opinions—it's crucial to foster an environment where they are encouraged. “You have to empower others to speak up,” Valentini says. “Whether it be the mom bringing her child into the clinic, the nurse reporting a problem he or she is seeing at the bedside or the young manager who's concerned about a particular situation, people on the front lines need to feel empowered to speak up.”
Investing in partnerships creates valuable bond
The key is to forge a partnership with parents and frontline staff as essential contributors to a patient's care. “You have to respect them—look them in the eye and hear them,” Valentini says. “If you hear them, chances are you—as the hospital leader, doctor or nurse—are going to figure out a solution faster.”
And those willing to invest the time and energy into building those partnerships will be pleased with the returns, according to Valentini. “If they know they're part of the care team, they're going to feel empowered to report up even faster the next time,” Valentini says. “And then you've created a bond that's going to continue to be a positive one and will pay for itself many times over.”