Kristi Baker understands the importance of building strong relationships within an organization. The bonds she forged while working at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri, were instrumental in bringing a teleneurology program to her new employer, The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Baker emphasizes that you shouldn’t ignore the possibilities that exist outside your hospital’s walls. “It's important to build relationships not only within your own institutions, but to also access your partners across the country,” says Baker, M.S.J., LSSBB, vice president, Women’s and Children’s Services, Saint Francis Health System. “It's really helpful and so important that we collaborate.”
Groups provide easy access to others’ experience
An excellent way to connect with colleagues, according to Baker, is through online communities—including those hosted by Children’s Hospital Association (CHA). “I belong to CHA’s behavioral health and sepsis forums—they’re invaluable to me,” Baker says. “You'll find people are facing the same challenges you are and some of them may be a little bit ahead of you—or even a lot ahead of you—and they can provide you with guidance, so you don't have to recreate the wheel.”
Baker adds that the expertise shared by her peers in the communities is rivalled only by their willingness to help. “I've sent out requests to the group and received responses from Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas City, Atlanta—everywhere you can imagine,” Baker says. “I have been overwhelmed with responses because everyone who has answers knows they were in your shoes at one point and they're happy to help.”
Key: Don’t be shy
Central to maximizing the value of this shared knowledge base is not letting your ego get in the way, according to Baker. “I think we all want to help each other, so you just have to be okay with asking for help,” Baker says. “I would really encourage people to not be afraid to say they don't know."