"Don’t be afraid to go forward slowly. Be only afraid of standing still." This message was sent to Nel Besselink, a departmental head at B44 of Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital, by her mother during a change programme with Accezz International. "It was something that I needed to hear at the time because I occasionally doubted the steps I was taking and really had to jump in at the deep end." Fortunately, it turns out that the efforts of Nel and her team, with help from Accezz, have been more than worth it. Moving forward slowly at first, things became easier along the way and the results soon followed. Accezz’s added value stems from the successful implementation and securing of the outcome.
Implementation and ensuring is the added value
Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital in Nijmegen had used an agency before. "At the time, a thick report arrived on the desk, but implementation never got off the ground,” says Besselink.
“I simply don’t have the time and focus for that type of thing and neither does the departmental head," explains Noor Snijder, manager of operations at the surgery unit, which includes Nel Besselink’s department. She continues, "Just as other hospitals, we are dealing with shrinkage management, while attempting to maintain quality and safety. The objective is to do more with fewer staff and keep employees committed and involved. Accezz proved to be the only party that really does spend every day on the work floor and actually tackles the bottlenecks it has analysed with tangible solutions. And that’s not all. Two years after implementation, regular audits still take place which ensure the results are maintained."
From 'yes but' to 'yes and'
"I thought there were not many savings to be made in my department and had blind trust in my people. I still rely on my staff, but those rose-coloured glasses had to come off. It turned out that improvements could still be made in the coaching and managing of employees by senior staff. They had to show more leadership," says Besselink. Noor Snijder had specifically chosen B44 for the pilot with Accezz because here four specialisations were merged into one department: "We were dealing with different cultures and lacked cohesion within the team.”
“At the time, a thick report arrived on the desk, but implementation never got off the ground.
”Snijder adds, “After the free analysis, where the bottlenecks were presented, there was a lot of scepticism, not only in the department but also within the management team. A programme with Accezz involves a substantial upfront investment, but there is also a 'no cure, no pay’ policy. Staff just had to see the benefits first. Fortunately, I’ve been a bit stubborn and have persevered. The Accezz approach is expressed in measurable terms and results and does not lose sight of the human element. After the pilot, the process was implemented hospital-wide. The challenge is to manage shrinkage, quality, safety and happiness all at the same time." Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital now has several employees from various departments with different positions in an Accezz training programme.
From resistance to trust
"I had quite a few objections myself at first. I thought a more structured, rational approach would be detrimental to the human aspect of what we do. After the bottlenecks were presented, like many others, I thought it would be impossible to do more work with fewer people," says Besselink. "Yes," Snijder adds, "you have to see it to appreciate it." Nurses always experience huge pressure at work, but Accezz has created a management system that measures workload and expresses it in figures. With this system, it becomes clear where time is spent.
"We first ran a test with adjusted rosters and had more people during peak hours and fewer during off-peak. We also rescheduled the visits of specialists. It is now exactly clear who is where and when. As a result, nurses now always visit the patient first and information transfer is smooth. The work meetings are less ad hoc and more binding. We also adopt a more performance indicator-driven approach and now score above the norm on all aspects. And that's good for our patients," says Besselink. She explains, "Without Accezz, we simply would have never achieved any of this. The programme has also improved team spirit and really does show that there is strength in unity. The Accezz project leader was here every day for six months to facilitate the process. As the departmental head, I simply cannot focus purely on work processes. Of course, he also had slightly more distance and could adopt a good helicopter view."
Scoring at the bedside
"On a football field, play must take place between certain lines. We now work in a similar way within the department. We have established lines and structures, which determine how we deal with people. And it works. I have also learned to say 'yes' to new ideas and initiatives. As you never know beforehand whether something will work or not, sometimes it’s best to just jump in at the deep end and let yourself be surprised," concludes a satisfied departmental head.