Leadership Case Study of the Steward as a Leader in Health Care

Baptist Hospital-Union County is a nonprofit, acute care, hospital that serves New Albany, Mississippi (Baptist, 2009). New Albany is a community of about 8,200 in a county of close to 23,000 (Union County Development Association, 2009). New Albany lies 25 miles to the West of Tupelo, and about 65 miles to the east-south-east of Memphis, Tennessee. Baptist Hospital-Union County has 153 certified beds and offers a variety of services (Baptist, 2009).

One of those services is a full-time emergency department. New Albany is a relatively small rural community, and as a result has difficulty in recruiting physicians. To ease the process the hospital opted to obtain physicians from a contract company. Some of the greatly appreciated physicians have been at the hospital for years and are respected by the hospital staff. Recently, two of the long- term physicians, one of whom is the medical director, resigned their posts.

The department has made numerous gains in patient satisfaction over the past two years, and is on the verge of coming apart as a result of this recent physician loss. The gains in customer satisfaction and resultant financial and quality improvement of the department are in jeopardy. The leadership of the hospital and the emergency department need to provide the appropriate response and attention to keep the department from forfeiting the gains in improved operation and customer satisfaction. To address the situation, a specific style of leadership can be accommodated to elicit a desired outcome. The model of leadership chosen, as described by Gail Scott (2002) that may offer the best outcome is that of a steward.

The steward, as described by Scott (2002), is a manager who works at keeping employees engaged in maintaining customer satisfaction. Many times, an organization can lose sight of the value of customer satisfaction, but a steward keeps all employees focused on its importance. Stewards work to keep employees consistently informed of service goals. A steward will use various forms of update, both verbal and written, to encourage and update staff on their results. A steward acts as a coach, encouraging staff to participate and take ownership in initiatives that drive customer satisfaction.

The steward is the best choice of leadership style for helping the emergency department staff of Baptist Hospital-Union County overcome its recent loss of key medical leader and staff. The steward is the best choice of leadership as it keeps the staff focused on the bigger picture, and will help the staff overcome their sense of loss (Scott, 2002). The steward can see through the static of the daily interferences that can exist at the worksite, and direct, re-direct, and encourage the staff to stay focused on the bigger picture. In the case of an emergency room, customer service will be a bigger picture than the loss of a couple of doctors.

Staff can digress from goals if not kept on focus. In the case of the departure of two long standing and respected physician leaders, some staff may be distracted by their sense of loss. The steward leadership style will help the staff overcome their concerns by again focusing them not on the loss, but the importance of their involvement in the operation of the department (Scott, 2002). A steward may wish to employ customer satisfaction data that segregates out the physician, and illustrates the impact of each employee without the involvement of the physicians. Focusing staff on their importance in the outcomes of customer satisfaction can help the staff overcome their loss.

The steward is a coach who keeps organization staff focused on the bigger picture. In the case of the operation of the emergency department at Baptist Hospital-Union County that is dealing with the loss of two key physicians, the bigger picture is customer satisfaction. The steward will help encourage the staff to staff focused on customer satisfaction and to assist in the recovery of their sense of loss. Both tasks will be accomplished by keeping the staff informed and engaged in the customer satisfaction experience. In this manner, the department will stay its course of continued improvement in customer satisfaction, and have an easier personal recovery from the loss of the long serving and key physicians. The stewardship leadership style is the best for encouraging the emergency room on its path.

References Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation (BMHCC). History. Retrieved November 4, 2009 from their website. Scott, G. (Jan/Feb 2002). The roles of the senior-level executive. Journal of Healthcare Management. 47(1); pp.9-13. Union County Development Association. (2008) Demographics. Retrieved November 4, 2009 from their website.

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