The first thing you notice when you walk into Maple Grove Hospital in Maple Grove, MN, is that it doesn’t feel like a hospital. Staff members greet you with eye contact and smile. There are no vacant-eyed people in over-crowded waiting rooms. The hallways are quiet and carpeted, and there’s warm light and natural colors everywhere. It’s easy to think that the hospital is experiencing low volume, until you see the patient boards in the doctors’ and nurses’ station and you realize that every room is filled.
Maple Grove Hospital has grown from 90 to 130 beds and 150 to over 800 employees since it opened on December 30, 2009. A joint venture between North Memorial Health Care and Fairview Health System, MGH was conceived around the core mantra, “Together, delivering healthcare as it ought to be.” Unpacked, this mantra covers the hospital’s focus on delivering an excellent physician and staff experience (together) that achieves optimal clinical results (delivering healthcare) with an ideal patient and family experience (as it ought to be).
At the core of this promise is an engaged base of physicians, nurses, therapists, environmental services staff, IT, and administrators who are dedicated to delivering a different kind of healthcare experience in a different kind of work environment. You feel it when you walk into MGH, but you especially hear it when you talk to staff. Examples include:
- During experience rounds on a post-partum floor, a new nurse spoke up about how she had been supported as she was learning the ropes at Maple Grove. One of the leaders asked if the team knew of the reputation nurses have for “eating their young.” The chorus of “Not here” echoed around the table before the sentence was completed.
- A surgeon heard of a referring surgeon who was failing to treat the nurses on the surgical team with professionalism and respect – a practice dishearteningly common for “star surgeons” in many healthcare settings. The surgeon not only confronted his peer, but also told the nurses, “Tell me if this continues and I’ll scrub in and show him how we do it here.”
- Nurses on a labor and delivery unit described how, if one of the nurses has a complicated patient, the other nurses and team members on the unit rally to support that nurse so that he or she is not over-burdened.
The stories go on, and they are not accidental. Maple Grove executives work hard to live the values they espouse – respect, accountability, communication, teamwork, and pride – and to communicate to every new hire what is expected of them. In addition they:
- Conduct three-times -a-year all-team meetings (repeated five times over a two week period to accommodate different shifts and schedules) to make sure that all employees are up-to-date on the hospital’s plans and successes.
- Hold twice-weekly leadership rounds to let leaders from different departments connect face-to-face to solve pressing issues and share important announcements.
- Do daily shift huddles and bedside handoffs to include patients and families in the plan of care.
- Complete executive and experience rounding to make sure that leadership and frontline staff are connected.
- Conduct nurse leader rounding on all patients to stay connected to the patient and family experience, perform immediate service recovery and identify opportunities for improvement.
Maple Grove’s culture of engagement is impressive – and difficult (but not impossible) to duplicate. The hospital is profitable and growing in a challenging market, building lasting loyalty and growth that sets them apart from their competition.