Creating an excellent organizational culture is a weighty and important task – one that Jefferson Regional Medical Center has taken on with complete dedication. JRMC’s culture change is a direct result of its leaders’ passion to give current and future JRMC employees the best work environment in Southeast Arkansas, with the goal of giving JRMC patients the best hospital experience in the region.
One of these leaders is Chief Medical Officer, Reid Pierce, M.D. Dr. Pierce has played a huge role in JRMC’s culture-change efforts, and he said he already sees the effects of those efforts in the hospital. “We get compliments from family members on how friendly everyone is,” he said. “I’ve even seen employees getting emotional during meetings as they talk about their work and how positive the environment is.”
To Dr. Pierce, good leadership means setting an example of excellence alongside fellow coworkers. “Listening and being able to work with different people collaboratively is very important,” he said. “You lead by what you do, so if you want people to behave a certain way, you have to behave that way. If you want people to get along and do the right thing, you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to be out there showing it.”
To Dr. Pierce, satisfaction among nurses is of the utmost importance. “There cannot be a hospital without nursing,” he said. “Nursing is the frontline of patient care. You can’t have happy, satisfied, well-attended patients without having satisfied nurses. We are committed, 100% to making Jefferson a place where nurses want to work.”
As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pierce facilitates positive relationships between JRMC nurses and the Medical Staff. “If I can positively impact the way the medical staff and the nursing staffs work together so there’s a feeling of mutual respect and collaboration, that’s what I want,” he said.
At JRMC, nurses have every opportunity to grow and accomplish professional goals, which is evident from the tenured nurses that have chosen to “grow up” at JRMC. “We really do believe in growing our own leadership,” Dr. Pierce said. “In fact, another one of the efforts we’ve taken is to be better stewards of our employee assets – to build them up, encourage them and develop their ladder to further opportunities.”
Dr. Pierce said JRMC believes in promoting from within. “A nurse starts as a floor nurse, then he or she can move up to charge nurse, then to coordinator or manager and then director – and who knows – someday a CNO,” he said. That’s how it works here, and we have many examples of that.”
Dr. Pierce said JRMC is striving to be known for how much nurses are valued in the organization. In fact, Dr. Pierce said he would love to see nurses drive from Little Rock and other surrounding areas to work at JRMC. “We want our nurses to feel such a sense of appreciation and respect that working here would be worth the drive,” he said. “We’re not only striving to be the best employer in Southeast Arkansas, but in all of Arkansas as well.”
When it comes to working together to change the culture, Dr. Pierce is taking the lead by setting a precedent of service in his own role. Dr. Pierce is known to carry a can of WD-40 around the hospital to spray squeaky doors. “They were doors that I went through every day, and I didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t just spray them,” he said. “We’re all part of this team to make this place what we want it to be, and that means we’re all part of Environmental Services. Why shouldn’t we, if we see trash on the floor, no matter who you are, pick it up? We don’t say, ‘That’s not my job’ around here. I walk around the hospital, and I’ve got a pocket. I don’t see why I couldn’t carry some WD-40 and do my part – no matter how small – in making this a better place for JRMC employees and patients.”
It’s this “together” attitude that Dr. Pierce believes is necessary in creating the best organizational culture possible. “We all need to look at the JRMC culture transformation like we’re a team, we’re a family, we can do this together,” he said. “And I believe we can.”
Dr. Pierce wants nurses to know that when they join the JRMC team, they can expect to be surrounded by positivity. “You shouldn’t have to be around somebody that’s dragging your team down,” Dr. Pierce said. “Everybody has to understand the mission of the organization and be behind that, and that’s it. It’s not just a one-person job – everybody has to do that. And that’s not being negative or critical; it’s all about being collaborative and positive.”
JRMC is unique because it has a small-town atmosphere, despite caring for an entire region of the state. “Our hospital has a family feel to it,” Dr. Pierce said. “We don’t have a lot of people coming and going, so you get to know people very well. There is this friend and family aspect to the work here that you might not see in a bigger hospital.”
Dr. Pierce wants to make one request of any nurse who is considering working at JRMC: “The one thing I’d say is give us a chance,” he said. “Let us prove how good it is at JRMC – how much better it is. What you may have heard in the past is not true anymore for very clear reasons. We’re not just making this up.”
Dr. Pierce looks back at JRMC’s culture change with excitement, and he’s certain that JRMC is creating a permanently improved work environment for the future. “All the incredible feedback we’ve heard from employees is not only amazing, it’s startling,” he said. “Two years ago, we would have never believed we would be where we are today. It’s a dramatic, 180-degree change. This is the way this hospital needs to run and a good organization needs to run. You need engaged employees and physicians and nurses – all working towards top-level patient care. And we’re not doing this just for a little while to plug up a hole and then go back to where we were. This is forever.”