CAP Quality Care measures staff satisfaction with a NIATx tool

Submitted by: 09/06/2012 by Maureen Fitzgerald

Cap Quality Care in in Westbrook, Maine offers counseling, drunk driving treatment services and medication assisted treatment to community members struggling with the use of alcohol and drugs. We emphasize accepting patients as people, without judging them by their disease, and respectfully fostering the highest level of health and functioning possible.

Katie Sawyer, counselor and Joint Commission coordinator at CAP, earned certification as a NIATx change leader several years ago. CAP has participated in both rounds of the NIATx Opioid Treatment Provider learning collaborative. Katie was a member of the change team for Round I and served as change leader for Round II. One NIATx tool that CAP has come to rely on is the Nominal Group Technique. NIATx change teams use this tool to promote group participation in decision-making. Katie and her colleagues are finding new ways to use the tool at CAP Quality Care.

"Our agency has fallen in love with the Nominal Group Technique as way to generate ideas that translate into change projects. Every other year, we do an employee satisfaction survey, which staff are consistently reluctant to complete due to concerns about anonymity in our small agency. Our Quality Improvement/Change Team decided that the best way proceed was to remove the expectation of anonymity by asking staff to offer their feedback in a nominal group process. We've adopted the habit of always running back-to-back processes, with the first being centered on a “problem" question and the second centered on potential solutions.

For our employee satisfaction survey, we first asked staff to respond to the following questions: "Professionally, what is preventing me from working at my highest potential in my job role?" and second, "What changes can CAP make to help me reach my potential?" The ground rules for discussion were:

The 18 participants identified 36 obstacles and 35 possible solutions to help employees reach their potential. Staff listened to each other, gained respect for the point of view of others, and had an opportunity to reflect on the contribution of each individual, while offering honest feedback about challenges in their position.

Staff was willing to take the risk of providing honest feedback, and to hear it. This worked far better than many of us imagined, and served not only as a way to vent frustrations, but to think collaboratively about solutions.

The Quality Improvement/Change Team has reviewed the results and is sending commentary and interpretation to Leadership. Both Leadership and QI/Change Team will be implementing some of the ideas generated to improve our workplace.

  • Be honest
  • Use concrete, behavioral terms
  • Be respectful
  • Be open to ways you can change NO ramifications; NO grudges; Leave it all on the table.
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