Inspired Recently by a Superb Nurse Leader

I was inspired recently by the words of a superb nurse leader—Toby Marsh at UC Davis Medical Center. In his Nurses Week address, he touched on some important ideas, and his message touched everyone present. He expressed his heart-felt gratitude for the place he works, the people he works with, and the work they do together, and then he said this:

“I believe that what continues to differentiate our nursing practice at UC Davis Medical Center, is our person-centered model of care, Primary Nursing. An essential aspect of our practice as Primary Nurses is the establishment of the Therapeutic Relationship with the patient and family. 

I also believe that what differentiates UC Davis Medical Center from other medical centers is our relationships with one another. It is these relationships that allow us to achieve and ensure high-quality patient outcomes and a culture of safety. These relationships are established and seen when we consistently attune to one another, wonder with and about each other, follow the cues provided by one another, and hold one another with respect and dignity. It is through these practices that we learn of each other’s backstory. It is our mastery of these relational practices with our patients that helps us understand what is most important to our patients and what will optimize their healing.”

Toby Marsh and the entire health care team at UC Davis Medical Center have a vision for superior care, and they understand that the “how” to superior care, is to ensure that authentic human connection is the goal, purpose, and expectation in every encounter—whether between clinician and patient, between colleagues, or in one’s relationship with self.

It was clear, in my Nurses Week visit, that UC Davis Medical Center is extraordinary, but I don’t believe the excellence they have achieved is out of reach for other health care organizations. The people there are clearly extraordinary, but perhaps people become extraordinary by embracing extraordinary ideas and pursuing them with a singular focus. I am gratified on behalf of everyone who has ever been part of the Creative Health Care Management family, that our pioneering work in Primary Nursing, Relationship-Based Care™, Leading an Empowered Organization, and Therapeutic Relationships/See Me as a Person, has provided focus, guidance, and support for this extraordinary organization. The beauty of your work leaves us speechless.