When I was an intern, a significant portion of our inpatient service was young men with AIDS admitted for pneumocystis pneumonia. It was not uncommon for medical therapy to fail and lead to respiratory failure and death. It was heartbreaking to see the fear in their eyes, knowing the end was coming. There always seemed to be a point where the patient knew we lost the fight. During this often tragic journey, I had the honor to work with some of the most extraordinary, compassionate, and kind teammates I have ever witnessed. They were the nurses of nine east. They taught me the nuance of bedside clinical assessment and how to use calm and connection to treat, support, and deliver powerful support under profoundly challenging circumstances. They shaped who I became as a physician, and I am forever grateful to those and the many nurses I’ve worked with since then.
When I founded Practicing Excellence, we began with a spirit of developing physicians in the skills of patient connection and team leadership as an extension of my last 15 years of coaching physician colleagues. It became evident shortly after our founding that the journey of mastery, development, and continuous learning could be beneficial for every care team member. We knew we were onto something important but still had to prove and verify that a technology-enabled solution utilizing microlearning videos could create improvement. We continuously modified how we brought skill-building to groups to fuel development that spurred both contribution and enrichment in clinical life. Fourteen case studies later, we have proven the model and now have expanded to support the entire care team with the inception of the Nursing Experience Project (NEP).
With our first cohort underway, we are inspired by the feedback from nurses and nurse leaders. One leader recently told us that the support for each of their nurses via NEP meant the world to them to have investment in their personal development journey. Another recent user shared what it felt like to focus back on the best parts of nursing to enrich patient partnership, team collaboration, and to learn to lead, mobilize, and inspire others. Our mission has always been to help every care team member thrive, and the launch of the Nursing Experience Project may be our most important work to date to advance that cause.
We remain humbled and honored to be an instrument to help our strained and often burdened workforce, to experience moments that can lift the human spirit through these most challenging times. We continue to believe the best of health care – impacting the lives of patients, collaborating with extraordinary teammates, and leading to lift others is there for the taking. We only hope to make those beautiful things happen more often.
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Stephen Beeson, MD is the CEO and founder of Practicing Excellence. An author of two national best-selling books, Dr. Beeson has become a national thought leader in building organizational approaches and cultures that support patient connection, team collaboration, and transformative leadership.