friday flash bannerSave
  • Futures can be invented

    August 10, 2018, 10:00 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    About this time last year, David Marshall, our System Chief Nursing and Patient Care Services Executive, told me about a book that he and his nursing directors were reading. Authored by Bob Johansen, Leaders Make the Future is an excellent read. In fact, I have a monthly luncheon with our former administrative fellows who are employed at UTMB, and we pick a book to read each year. Based on David’s recommendation, this is the book I chose for the year. I love the idea that people, whether as individuals or organizational leaders, can design or “make” their future. The use of the action verb, “make” leaves the impression that it is possible to create the future instead of being whipsawed by the winds of change. In health care today, creating the future has an appeal. It gives us the inspiration to lead the way rather than succumb to the external forces changing our industry...
  • The path that leads to the future

    August 3, 2018, 08:51 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    This past Fourth of July, my husband, my daughter’s family and I visited one of my sons and his family in the San Diego area. Because my daughter-in-law grew up in Coronado, California, a nearby island to San Diego, we often celebrate the holiday there...
  • swimming_1200

    Lessons from the pool

    July 20, 2018, 12:10 PM by Donna Sollenberger
    Growing up in the Midwest, summers always meant vacation Bible school, dance lessons, clarinet lessons, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, catching fireflies, listening to St. Louis Cardinals games on the back patio with an old transistor radio and swim lessons. All but the last fill me with good memories. Being the ever-good mother, my mom was convinced my siblings and I all must learn to swim. While the closest body of water was at least five miles away and we certainly did not live in a neighborhood where people had pools in their back yards, my mother was adamant about all three of us learning to swim.
  • The Upside of Stress

    July 11, 2018, 13:01 PM by Donna Sollenberger
    Last week, I shared that I had attended the annual meeting of America’s Essential Hospitals. One of my favorite presentations of the week was by keynote speaker, Psychologist Kelly McGonigal, who discussed the upside of stress. That’s right – I said the “upside.” As essential hospital leaders, we have a lot of experience with stress, wouldn’t you agree? Generally, we tend to think of stress as a bad thing. It can have an adverse impact on our health. It can make our heart pound, increase our blood pressure, quicken our breathing and cause us to sweat. If we experience stress over a long period of time, it can make it difficult to concentrate, compromise our immune system, and even cause weight gain and gray hair! Stress is, however, an unavoidable part of life...
  • Our Communities Depend on Us

    July 6, 2018, 11:35 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    On June 22, as Chair of the Board, I had the distinct honor to speak at the annual meeting of America’s Essential Hospitals. The theme of my talk was the vital role of safety net hospitals, such as UTMB Health, in the communities they serve. Whether we partner with others to assure access to care throughout the community or we maintain critical services such as burn centers, level 1 trauma centers and neonatal ICU’s, our role is essential and profound. As I reviewed my speech, I thought a lot about UTMB Health specifically and the important role we serve in our own surrounding communities and beyond. In times of large scale emergencies or disasters, UTMB and its amazing physicians, nurses, residents and staff have been there, ready to respond. We also offer complex and costly programs such as organ transplants or heart and vascular cases as we continually work hard to serve those in need of exceptional patient care and service. With that in mind, I wanted to share part of the speech I delivered to the members of America’s Essential Hospitals during our conference because I think it really illustrates the broad spectrum of services and unique role hospitals and health systems like UTMB play in our communities. It also addresses some of the challenges we all face in the current climate of health care reform, and it emphasizes why the continued support of organizations like ours is so crucial...
  • Teachable Moments

    June 22, 2018, 09:25 AM by Donna K. Sollenberger
    I think I must be on a little bit of a “Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood” kick lately, as I had shared a story a couple of weeks ago about one piece of wisdom Fred Rogers once imparted on his show that stuck with me through the years. It was about sharing the blessings we have been given. As I started reading more about Mr. Roger's life, I came across something else he once said that resonated: “If you could only see how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
  • A Heartwarming Letter

    June 15, 2018, 08:30 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    We all have the opportunity every day to improve someone’s life, whether it is through life-saving care or providing comfort in times of need. Not only do we impact the life of the patient, but we also impact the lives of their family members. We all wake up each day committed to doing a good job, and we hope that in the course of the day, we also have the ability to make a difference. Drew Dudley, an expert in leadership development and Ted Talks speaker, says that in some way or another, we have all changed someone else’s life whether or not we ever even realized it. He calls these Lollipop Moments. He often shares one specific story from his life to illustrate that it’s through the small things we do that we can have a great impact on those around us. These Lollipop Moments are times where someone said something or did something that fundamentally made life better for someone else. (You can view his Ted Talk at the end of today’s entry.) It is in this context that I share a beautifully written letter from the son of a patient…
  • Mr. Rogers quote

    It’s not how many blessings you have

    June 7, 2018, 16:40 PM by Donna Sollenberger
    More and more, I am beginning to think that my two three-year old grandchildren are causing me to revert back to the days when I was a mother to a young daughter. As I mentioned at the end my most recent post, as a little girl, Shannon, loved watching the television program, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I cannot even begin to estimate how many hours we spent in front of the TV watching his program! At the time, I thought Mr. Rogers was a bit boring, but I was fascinated at how engaged my daughter would get in the show and how much she loved the characters.
  • Success is not an accident

    May 24, 2018, 16:30 PM by Donna Sollenberger
    Last month, the pilot of a Southwest Airlines flight achieved national and international attention when she successfully landed a plane after one of its engines exploded, damaging the fuselage and breaking a window in the passenger cabin. Captain Tammie Jo Shults was not supposed to be on the flight that day, but she had changed shifts with her husband so that she could see their son compete in a track meet.
  • The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place

    May 17, 2018, 13:59 PM by Donna Sollenberger
    Last week my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to San Diego to meet our new grandson. Of course, he is beautiful and perfect! While we were in California, we had lunch with the son of two dear friends, Morgan. We had not seen him for quite some time, so it was great catching up with him. We have known him for almost twenty years. In fact, we first met when he was a fairly new father with a two-year old daughter. I realized how quickly time had passed when I asked Morgan what grade Julia was in now, and he told me she is a freshman in college. Somehow, I am still not sure that is possible...