LeAnn Harcharik not only has a powerful impact on me and our staff but ultimately on the patients we care for on 4 Wiser.
LeAnn is an excellent role model. She is usually on the unit bright and early every morning. I can see her now, walking around the corner with her coffee and a smile on her face, asking everyone how their night has gone or how are they doing.
LeAnn definitely builds an environment of trust by encouraging us to come to her with any concerns. She always has an open door. I can voice concerns with her and they will be taken seriously. And most importantly, our conversations will remain private and handled with compassion. If she cannot solve an issue, she knows who to call. This is one reason she is so well respected by our staff.
LeAnn uses many creative ways to foster this trust and reliability on our floor. One way is by having "breakfast" meetings for the day and night shifts, on and off-campus. These small gatherings strengthen our bond. It lets us know we are not alone, we have a reliable team and a boss we can count on. This type of leadership is admirable.
LeAnn models exemplary professional behavior and expects the same and nothing less from her staff. She often tells us the impression we make is not only reflective of ourselves, but of the nursing profession and UMMC as a whole. I always remember her telling us "take care of the patients like you would want someone to take care of your loved ones" or "treat the patients as if that were your mother or father in that bed". She says, "you only get one time to make a first impression – so make it a good one." LeAnn has even spoken to us about our appearance and how we say things because those things can make a huge difference in the care of a patient.
In a way to motivate staff, LeAnn has made 4 Wiser a great place to work and a place where we have extended family. Many months ago, she asked each of us to write down why we liked working on 4 Wiser. She took those statements and had them blown up into large signs and placed them on the wall. As soon as we walk on the unit, we are reminded of the great things "our family" says about "our home", 4 Wiser. She always encourages us to have a healthy balance between work life and home life. This is especially important for us as night shift workers. She makes it a priority to decorate the nurses' station for each holiday. She puts each staff member's picture on the large unit TV screen for the entire month to celebrate our birthdays. Some of the doctors and Nurse Practitioners have even asked to have their pictures showcased on the "big screen"! We also celebrate with birthday parties.
LeAnn continually motivates us to not only do our job well but to look toward the future. She encourages us to get our certification and complete the Professional Development Program/clinical ladder. Again, she can motivate us because she has modeled these things herself – she has her masters and certification! To help encourage us, LeAnn has developed a Certification Wall where she places the photos of each person who receives their certification.
We are not only motivated visually, but through emails, texts, Vocera voicemails, notes on our lockers, notes on a whiteboard in the bathroom, hand-written notes for those needing a little pick-me-up, verbally, and by Kudos sent through UMMC's website. Every Friday, she sends an email to the entire staff that includes issues that require attention or ways to improve our patient care, along with a "praise report". She is a stickler on cleanliness and makes us mindful of the way we leave our patient rooms. She says, "that room will be their home for a short time". She reminds us that no one is above taking out the trash or dirty laundry. LeAnn Harcharik is firm, but she is fair! I have seen her sitting on the bare floor with gloves and Saniwipes cleaning the bottoms of our WOWs because they were dirty. If that is not leading by example, I don't know what is!
To complete this nomination, there are two specific examples I would l like to share that show the real LeAnn Harcharik.
The first example is personal. Last year, I received news that my father had cancer and that my niece was sick. I had a rough shift that night and this news compounded my emotions. That morning I cried in LeAnn's office (which I hated to do) but she came from behind her desk, closed the door behind me and gave me a big hug. I don't remember all she said, but the fact she reached out to console me meant the world to me. She allowed me to take time off and fly home to be with my family. For this, I will be ever grateful.
The second example is about a co-worker. My co-worker's father became critically ill and was admitted to one of our ICUs. My co-worker was out of state when this news came. Realizing the prognosis was poor and not enough time to get home, my co-worker called LeAnn and asked her to go to the father's room to help her say goodbye. LeAnn immediately stopped what she was doing and took her cell phone to the father's room. She held her phone to the father's ear and our co-worker was able to have that time with her father just before he passed away. At that moment, LeAnn took off her manager hat and became not only a colleague, or another nurse, but a friend in a time of need.
LeAnn Harcharik is definitely a DAISY Nurse Leader!