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Sally Bachman
Interim CEO and head of nursing
Monroe County Hospital
Albia, IA

Monroe County Hospital takes staff education seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it created its own in-house university, MCH-U. All employees at the 25-staffed-bed critical-access hospital must earn at least 14 credits a year in classes, says Sally Bachman.

Bachman: Employees take required courses, which change every year, and then take electives to make up the rest of their credits. Our electives have ranged from bow-making and quilting to finance--whatever somebody wants to teach.

Our required classes this year include two on having "crucial" conversations, a class on recognition and reward, and a class called P Squared, which is posture. We don't have normal levels like freshmen, juniors, and seniors. We use a sea theme because our mascot here is a dolphin. Everybody starts as a sponge. The highest level you can achieve is the blue whale. We don't have any blue whales yet. It takes 1,300 credits to become a blue whale. Personally, I'm an elephant hermit crab--that's about six levels in.

Our patient satisfaction has been running 98 to 99 for a couple of years. Our employee satisfaction has been running 98 for the past three years. We have happy staff and happy patients, but it's more than that. When you work in housekeeping or dietary, nobody usually cares whether you go to a program or you learn something. MCH-U broadens their horizons. They get a certificate for every class. They are very proud of those.

-Molly Rowe

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