NBHH training program takes care to a higher level

At first take, all of the health care service entities within the North Big Horn Hospital District give the impression of clean, peaceful, well-managed operations. Every contact with an employee is friendly and designed to make any visitor feel at home. As a visitor or patient, what you’re witnessing, whether you are visiting the hospital, clinic or care center, is the result of the Studer Group’s specialized staff training in action.

Speaker Rich Bluni of the Studer Group conducts a leadership development training for around 80 hospital leadership staff at the Lovell Community Center last week as part of the North Big Horn Hospital District’s quarterly training program.
Courtesy photo

The hospital district has been training its employees using Studer’s unique style of training for nearly six years, and it’s in good company with more than 800 other health care organizations nationwide using the same program to train employees. The NBHH board of trustees just renewed its Studer contract for another three years, without a hint of hesitation. The reason? It works.

The Studer Group is a specialized business coaching program that works with health care employees to improve not only the quality of patient care but the patient’s perception of care, as well.

NBHH CEO Rick Schroeder first heard about the program when he worked at a hospital in Pennsylvania. He said he wanted to bring the program to Lovell after taking the position as CEO for the district.

In the past few weeks, employees of the hospital district, and other nearby hospital districts, have been attending training sessions led by one of the Studer Group’s most sought after speakers, Rich Bluni. Bluni is a published author and renowned expert in the healthcare field. He joined Studer Group in 2007 and has been a full-time speaker since 2009. During that time, Bluni has presented to tens of thousands of people across the U.S. and Canada, frequently keynoting major conferences for hospital organizations, medical practices and universities.

According to Schroeder, all employees in the district attend the training sessions, which are held on a quarterly basis for the leadership team and twice a year for staff members. The focus is on a different topic each session. The topic of the latest leadership training is “Inspired Leaders.” Schroeder described the topic using the analogy of a water bottle.

“If I had a bottle of water and every time I do something a drop falls out, before too long that bottle is empty. If I don’t do something to fill it back up, it’s empty again,” explained Schroeder. “So this session was about filling it back up.”

Schroeder said “filling up” includes taking care of oneself, expressions of gratitude, a focus on purpose and other positive thoughts and actions.

“Our work should have purpose and be worthwhile,” said Schroeder. 

Schroeder said, when hiring new employees, the district is always looking for individuals with a positive attitude.

“You can’t train attitude, but you can train skills,” said Schroeder. “When we hire, we are looking for people who want to be part of something special.” 

Schroeder said the program has made a difference in how the staff performs their duties.

“People come to work here with the attitude that they want to do worthwhile work that has a purpose,” said Schroeder. “That really makes a difference. It gives us the tools to do what we really want to do.”

Schroeder said this type of focus has increased employee satisfaction, as evidenced by many positive employee satisfaction surveys. He said it has also led to a positive patient experience for many and is reflected in numerous positive survey results from patients.

“I think it has unified our focus on how to succeed,” said Schroeder. “We call it ‘engaged to excel.’ We think it is important to be engaged in order to achieve the level of excellence that we strive for.”

Codee Geiser has been the district’s “Studer Champion” for the last three years. She acts as a facilitator, setting up educational sessions for employees.

She added, “Everyone here knows they make a difference. Everyone knows their job is valued. The program teaches us how to work together and to respect each other. You can have all the skill set in the world, but it’s the little things that we learn through Studer that are the key to real success.”

By Patti Carpenter