finding a happy medium

I’m nervous this time around.  Who knew so many people read this—people you may not expect. After the last time I yapped on here, some older fella I've never seen before yelled at me "I read your blog!" as the elevator door closed.  Never found out what he thought of it, but I'm telling myself he loved it.  I’m attempting to fill some pretty big shoes writing here today. Your regularly scheduled bloggers, and soon-to-be doctors, Andrew Yin and occasionally Jess Dawson, have been writing powerful, insightful, and inspiring posts for a while now.  Thanks so much for those you two.   They’re both headed off to med school; Jess has just gone and we have Andrew for a few more weeks. Sad to see them leave Sibley, but excited for the physicians they’ll **crosses fingers** come back to us as.  

My first blog post here almost a year ago was part Fat Head poster (that’s a Rob Jewell joke) and part introducing my new role as Geriatric Nurse Navigator in the NICHE (Nurses Improving the Care of Health System Elders) department. Something exciting in NICHE this past year is a Hub related update/shameless plug.  Suzanne Dutton, my boss and your NICHE Coordinator and I used to design thinking to come up with some ways to significantly impact patient experience scores for older patients on our target unit.   You can read our poster presentation of the results shown here. 

Another plug is that we are hosting a really cool community event next month, focused on making Sibley the most accepting hospital in the DMV, but enough about NICHE.  Over the past year, some things have changed and some have stayed the same.

Sibley is still awesome.

We all still do great work.

The Hub is still facilitating the development of the good ideas our staff are churning out.

That's not supposed to read like some ra-ra sports halftime speech, partially because that third bullet is long and nerdy-sounding, but more because it’s way bigger than sports.  Sometimes it's hard in a job that you enjoy (which I think most people here do), when you’re doing it so well, to look up and recognize the work that other people are doing. That’s one of the many reasons I quickly fell into working with the Hub. They see the tough work that everybody else is doing and genuinely just want to improve it. Make it easier. Make it better for the patient. Focusing on the end-user and not an end product means you don't go in with an idea of what will fix the problem. You go in with an idea of who has the problem and the question of how can you help them. So, whether it's a nursing issue, a communication issue, or a technology issue it is WHO is experiencing this issue that design thinking focuses on in solving the problem.  Design thinking focuses on the people, which are always the best part, and it’s their feedback that drives design. 

The last time I jumped on this cyber soapbox I went on about coming to the Hub and giving feedback. I recognize a lot of people reading this may not always have time to scoot down to the Hub, or find out what they're working on, but the Hub team recognizes this and makes a big effort to come to you and our patients. So my ‘ask’ this time is just to keep on contributing to great care in whatever your role is and to welcome those that may ask for your opinion to help others do the same. Give them honest feedback on the prototypes but also on the process of getting feedback from patients.  The Hub team will always respect that the flow of units can be complex, and because of that they sometimes they need a nudge in the right direction.  They are trying to make healthcare better for everyone involved, and they need yours and patients’ voices to do that. 

To end with a little story, I had a special moment two weeks ago with Miss Filler (if you don’t know her then SHAME) getting feedback about a new prototype.  That’s right, Miss Filler.  The best of the best—cap and all—took a few minutes to give feedback on a really cool prototype aiming to give patients control over their room while empowering them to use the call button (but that’s for another blog post).  I’m not saying she’s leading her own design sprint next week or anything, but Miss Filler took a few minutes to give feedback.  It made my month. This was big to me having worked 8 years for her because I know exactly where she stands on patients getting quality care. She would rather staff be in a patient room than anywhere else, yet she took the time to give feedback.  It was a little thing, but getting feedback and opening the minds that go with all the caring hearts at Sibley is one of the many things that make it an exciting time to be here. 

Same as usual with a blog please leave some feedback (email me at, or yell it at me on an elevator, either way, thanks for reading and for all you do for Sibley.


Matt Brown