Monday Morning Message on Lean – June 20, 2010

June 21, 2010

I apologize for not getting my posting up last week, my brother was in the hospital. This was an interesting experience for me as a family member of a patient in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). I have been helping hospitals with their Lean journey for quite some time now. But, I wasn’t there to see how they were implementing Lean. I was there to see how my brother would get better. As we all probably know, Lean is only ten percent about the tools and 90 percent about people. This last week I really got to see the people part of things.

E. M. Forster

“One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.” – E. M. Forster

The reason I picked this quote is because I was amazed at the different level of care that I saw my brother receive from the nurses that were scheduled. I say ‘scheduled’ because that’s what it felt like sometimes. The nurses did their jobs technically well. Some may have been more ‘efficient’ than others. When it comes to healthcare the customer (the patient) is not only concerned with efficiency, they also want some amount of compassion. There was one nurse who stood out among the rest. She was caring, reassuring, funny and genuinely seemed to like her job and take care of my brother as if he were her family member. You could tell that she has a passion for her job, like many of us do. I understand that each person is unique and each has their own personality. Some people just make you feel good when they do their job. I also know that a hospital is a tough place to work in with all the rules, regulations, policies, etc. I also know that nurses are generally overworked. That’s where Lean has a role in hospitals. I noticed that they had applied some 5S to the unit by labeling racks and storerooms for supplies. By continuing on a good Lean journey we can reduce more waste and allow the nurses to do what they want to do – spend more time with the patients.

I will write more about my healthcare experience in upcoming blogs. For now, let’s see if we can find people with passion or rekindle passion for our work. – Tony

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