Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV
The other day, someone asked me what it takes to make a valued employee at the Highland companies in Charleston. Their question took me off guard, but it didn’t take me long to be able to answer it, because if our employees live by our organizational values, they are automatically valued employees.
First, a valued employee at Highland puts the patient’s needs in front of everything else. In our values statement, we call this patient centered care—putting the patient in the center of everything we do. This is what quality of care is all about. A valued employee at Highland cares about our patients. They pay attention to what our patients say, and what they need. They make sure our patients are safe, and they make sure that they have what they need to get better. A valued employee knows that they put the patient’s needs in front of everything else by following our policies, which have been designed with in our patient’s best interests. A valued employee never says “that’s not my job” when it comes to helping a patient or a family member.
Next, a valued employee at Highland lives our value of innovation. Valued employees bring solutions to problems. They don’t sit around and bemoan problems, but rather, they are searching for new and better ways to help us and our patients meet our goals. And, they are bringing those solutions to light by sharing them across the organization.
Further, a valued employee helps the Highland companies to be visible to the public. Through community service, or role modeling, or talking about the good work that we do, a valued employee helps others know that if someone needs psychiatric care, we are here for them. That’s what it’s all about, making sure that in a time of need, everyone knows where they can turn for psychiatric care.
A valued employee lives our value of fiscal responsibility. We as an organization are not rich. We don’t have the resources to do what we may want to do. So, we need to treat the resources that we do have—our people, our environment, our reputation—as if they are gold. A valued employee doesn’t waste time while at work, does the job that they are here to do, shows up on time, and doesn’t mistreat or misappropriate our resources. These are the basics of being responsible with our resources, and these are the responsibility of everyone.
And finally, a valued employee lives our value of ethical treatment of all. When I talk to new employees I tell them that it is my expectation that we treat everyone fairly and with respect. I tell them that we will treat them fairly and with respect, and I expect the same of them in their work with patients, peers, managers and supervisors. I also tell them that I will tolerate nothing less.
So, what is a valued employee at the Highland companies in Charleston? One that lives our values through their decisions, actions, and behaviors. I hope that anyone who is observing us can see that in our employees each and every day.