Chief Executive - back to the floor

Roy Lilley often says that the best leaders get out and about and see what's going on at the frontline for themselves.

Since she was appointed Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, Karen Partington @partingtonkaren works a 'back to the floor' shift at least once a month. This involves rolling her sleeves up and doing whatever task is required - she's not just observing.

Karen has worked shifts on several wards, a night shift in the emergency department, she's cooked and served meals, processed patient records, directed traffic in the carpark, welcomed new arrivals in the maternity unit, worked in the pathology labs, and lugged trollies with porters.

She talks to staff, finds out what's working well, and asks about what's not. And when something's not working she advises staff what to do to progress it, or makes sure it's sorted out. Following the shift Karen writes a blog about her experience which is published on the intranet so staff can see what she's been up to.

This also includes an update about the progress of any issues she promised to tackle. Karen tries to get along to as many teams' meetings as she can, and arranges briefings throughout the year so she can talk to staff face to face about plans, and hear about their concerns.

Our board also visits a different department or service at least every fortnight to see what's happening on the frontline, hear about staff's experiences, and talk to patients.
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