The Benefits of Early Entry Into ACHE Grooming Students into Leaders By Barbara Fallon, South Florida Hospital News, for ACHE of South Florida
Darrell Leggett, II, has been associated with the ACHE since his student days at Baylor University, Texas. He credits mentoring, networking and educational programming with grooming his evolution from initial clinical aspirations to an administrative healthcare career with a foundation in the sciences, along with a rich exposure to the humanities and focus on relationships and experiences in the changing nature of healthcare in the 21st century.
As a student member, he found ACHE member executives willing to mentor him and share feedback on his goals. He also enjoyed participating in developmental programming and networking which was valuable to matching him with his current four-year association and growth with HCA, America.
After earning a BA in Medical Humanities and an MBA with Healthcare Administration specialization and serving as an HCA administrative resident, then practice manager positions in Texas and currently Director of Physician Services in Palm Beach, he learned the value of using listening skills from ACHE guidance.
Leggett explained, “It turned my initial perceptions of organizational performance upside down. I now think of an inverted triangle with the front-line feeding info down to the CEO and, in turn, getting support for policy and procedural improvements that benefit staff, patients and the bottom line.” “I found that listening to diverse points of view from front line patient care staff, no matter their status in an organization, is vital to achieving patient satisfaction. Establishing operational policies to support and not dictate change to front line staff empowers them and builds a staff culture where procedures and attitudes positively impact patient satisfaction scores,” he concluded.
Even before he entered health care, Leggett was always interested in customer service. He was in the restaurant business and often dealt with rude, cranky or dissatisfied customers.
According to Leggett, “In the health care arena that attitude may have a legitimate cause, since patients may be in pain or families worried while waiting for diagnostic or therapeutic outcomes. Physicians may be stressed by financial constraints, bureaucratic policy, inefficient systems or any number of operational aspects. My job is to listen to those concerns and participate in ways to solve or alleviate the dissatisfiers. It’s not necessarily true that our customers or providers are rude, it’s that we need to better appreciate and improve the individual situations that feed their concerns.”
Now as he and his wife have settled into South Florida, he feels ready to give back and volunteers on membership committees to spearhead initiatives, such as topical symposiums dealing with marketing, ethics, finance, diversity and patient centricity, with local business school students. He also serves as a resource to attract local executives to participate and share experiential knowledge during educational programs or learn through collegial networking conversations.
Mentors’ advice he has followed in the early stages of his career remind him to avoid complacency and always seek opportunities for worthwhile advancement, not just a title. He embraces the maxim that learning should be a life-long journey.
“Listen and collaborate with colleagues, read a book, earn the next certification … these are all steps that build and support one’s ambition,” he said. “Now that I am paying it forward, I share that when networking with the next generation of leaders. I advise them to look for learning opportunities outside of the classroom, such as networking through ACHE. Someone else has been there before you and if you relate to golf; it is much easier to learn basics of a good golf swing early than it is to correct a bad one later,” he said.