RCMH Emergency Department: One Team, One Goal

Want to improve performance? Then improve your culture. That’s what the Emergency Department at Rusk County Memorial Hospital in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, would tell you. See how six culture-focused initiatives led to record scores and changed the way patients perceived the care they received.


Rally around your Key Drivers®

Ladysmith, Wisconsin, is one of those small American towns where “everybody knows your name.” It’s a place where your name, and what you stand for, mean something. So, when internal business issues destabilized day-to-day operations at Ladysmith’s Rusk County Memorial Hospital, their impact rippled through the facility and out into the community and affected perceptions of total organizational performance. The problem was especially acute in the Emergency Department, which, for many, was the figurative front door to the hospital.

Something had to be done — quickly. Armed with Key Drivers® identified in a recent PRC patient satisfaction survey, the new ED Nurse Manager, an interim Quality Director, ED nurses and providers, registration staff, facilities management, and several ancillary departments worked together to execute a strategy that aligned and engaged RCMH staff as One Team with One Goal.

During their presentation, Kristin and Bethany explore the six initiatives that led to record highs in Percent Excellent scores for both Overall Quality of Care and Overall Teamwork Between Doctors, Nurses and Staff.

Change the culture to change performance

Recognizing that culture is critical to any change management initiative, RCMH’s ED task force focused on developing teams that were positively aligned and constructively engaged. This meant:

  1. Enhancing the ED environment. Remodeling improved aesthetics, increased patient privacy and provided a dedicated work space for providers and staff.
  2. Improving door-to-doctor times. Process analysis improved efficiency and satisfaction.
  3. Communicating effectively. It all began by teaching team members to see things through the eyes of patients. New, more streamlined processes and whiteboards in patient rooms helped, too.
  4. Engaging physicians. Working with physicians to develop a patient-centered action plan moved doctors from the lowest to the highest patient satisfaction percentile.
  5. Making post-discharge phone calls. Hearing firsthand how patients feel about their visit has helped ED staff recognize the benefits of following up with patients.
  6. Implementing employee rounding. Conversations resulting from rounding convince employees that they are being heard, which has increased their engagement — and patient satisfaction.

Transforming the ED culture has made it easier to select providers and staff who are a fit for the way RCMH wants to operate and who help ensure that patients stay happy and community perceptions stay positive.

About Our Presenters

Kristin Verville, M.D.
Medical Director of Emergency Services (left)

Dr. Kristin Verville began working in Ladysmith in 2003. She started her career with a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy and then returned to school to earn her medical degree from the University of Minnesota in 2000. Because of her diverse background, she is a strong advocate for patients to get back to normal living through the use of therapies. Dr. Verville enjoys helping people in the small community environment because of how personal it is. Her kind touch and caring smile gives her the ability to put anyone at ease while in the Emergency Department. She loves making a difference in people’s lives and takes pride in her work as an Emergency Department Physician. 

Bethany Stevens, RN
Department Manager of Emergency Services and Cardiac Rehab (right)

Bethany Stevens began her RCMH career as a registered nurse in July 2015 after moving with her family from North Dakota. Starting off as a House Supervisor, she was pulled back into her passion, Emergency Medicine. With a background in emergency care at larger facilities, Bethany brought tremendous experience and clinical protocols to improve the quality of the care provided at Rusk County Memorial Hospital. She strives to maintain a patient- and family-centered focus in the department in order to provide the best possible care. Bethany’s smile and energy is contagious and her passion for caring for the people of Rusk County shines through in everything she does.


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