Creating a Safe Space, First

Dr. Maureen Fagan, Chief Nursing Executive for the University of Miami Health System shares her insights on building trust. For her, the practice starts with asking powerful questions and modeling the behavior you want to see in those you lead. You’ll learn how to create an environment where people feel encouraged to discuss problems openly so they can be easily identified and resolved.

Truth You Can Act On

1. Do As I Do

The first thing nurses are tuned into is the concept of ‘do as I do.’ Watch what I’m doing and do it like me. In my world, what I want to see them model is the behavior where patients and families come first. And so I model it to them and have the nurses feel like they are being cared for, that they are known by me and cared for by leadership. And when you have that feeling of being known and cared for, because I come every single day and I’m on the unit every single day, then you don’t get stared of me coming on the unit. You don’t think, ‘Why is the person who’s two rungs higher than me here? Why does she keep coming back? What are we doing wrong?’ You need to continually show up and show you’re interested and ask important questions. Because they’re at the bedside and I’m not, and I want to know what their best practices are so that I can share them with other units.

2. Create Rituals

Some of the very simple things we have done that have been amazing and are easy to do is we created something called Tea for the Soul. Every day at 2:30, the foodservice employees come on the floor and serve coffee and tea and hot cocoa. Initially, we started doing it for patients and families, and then we realized the nurses loved it. And so we said we have to do this for everybody and go in and have tea with a patient or a family and share some time with them. It became so popular the night shift wanted to do it as well. And we said, ‘Absolutely!’ We’re really doing fun things which let people pause for a few minutes to say, ‘Wow, thanks for doing that. That’s so kind. That’s so sweet.’ And those things may sound simple, but when it’s done in a kind and loving way and it’s done genuinely, I think it’s met with gratitude.

3. Ask Powerful Questions

There are two things I like to say. One is, ‘Help me understand. Help me understand why it got this way or help me understand how I can be helpful to you to make things change.’ I always tell my staff is to remain curious so if you’re in a situation where you’re trying to understand something, it’s important for you not to react to what you’re hearing someone saying but remain curious about why it is happening. If you remain curious, you start to have an ‘aha moment’ because you haven’t interrupted and you’re realizing I might’ve never seen it the way they’re thinking. The lens of a leader is different than the lens of a person that’s at the bedside. So you want to be able to understand different folks perspective. So I use those two concepts in order to move forward.

Book Recommendation:

Listen to the full episode: 137: Creating a Safe Space, First with Dr. Maureen Fagan and David Black

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Our Community!

Stay in the loop on what's to come by signing up for updates.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.