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  • A gift that costs nothing and makes a big difference

    December 7, 2018, 08:26 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    About two months ago, one of my sons was speaking at a conference in Northern California when his co-presenter (who I will call Mary) quietly told him she was not feeling well. She wanted to alert him in case she needed to leave during the presentation and he would have to take over. Mary made it through the presentation, but once it was over, she asked another co-worker to take her back to the hotel because she was feeling really poorly. The co-worker took her to the hotel, settled her in and then returned to the conference.
  • It is in giving that we receive

    November 16, 2018, 08:23 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    According to a legend, there once was a desert wanderer who happened upon a spring of cool, crystal-clear water. The water was so delightful, he decided to bring the king of the land a sample of it. Barely quenching his own thirst, the wanderer filled his leather canteen with the water and began the lengthy journey back to the king’s palace in the hot desert sun...
  • The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

    November 9, 2018, 10:15 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    With all of the changes in health care, I’ve heard physicians and staff talk more and more about how stressed they are feeling in their day-to-day work. In previous Friday Flash Reports, we’ve acknowledged that some stress, from time-to-time, is fine. It is our body’s normal biological reaction to life’s demands. When the brain perceives a threat, it releases a burst of hormones that increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. This creates the “fight or flight” response which determines how we will deal with the threat. Once the threat is gone, everything should return to normal.
  • The simplest things are sometimes undervalued

    November 2, 2018, 10:19 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    I recently read an article by Dr. Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health in New York. His article focuses on how busy the health care industry has become, and how we are increasingly pressured to manage more and more priorities. As a result, he says that we don’t “come up for air” often enough, we often forget to celebrate our successes, we overlook the importance of face-to-face interactions, and we forget to appreciate our unsung heroes, like middle management and front-line supervisors, who play such a critical role in the day-to-day operations of a health system.
  • Why I love working at UTMB

    October 19, 2018, 09:08 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    For more than 20 years, I have had the pleasure of interviewing candidates each year for the Administrative Fellowship program at the organization I have worked. Administrative fellows are individuals who have completed their master’s degree in healthcare administration and who desire to spend a year in a culminating experience of their studies by training with an executive team in a health system to better understand how hospitals, clinics and health systems work. During their fellowship experience, they shadow executives; they rotate in various departments, units and clinics to understand each area’s role in patient care; and they complete various assigned projects. The purpose is to give the fellow a well-rounded look at health care and provide them with better information on which to make a decision regarding their career path.
  • A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other

    Listen up! It’s just as important as speaking up for safety

    October 12, 2018, 11:18 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    As I now have several young grandchildren, I am familiar with a number of children’s books, and enjoy the time I have when I am able to read to each of them. One of the books I enjoy is called “I Have a Little Problem, Said the Bear.” Written by Heinz Janisch, it is about a bear who needs help, but none of the animals in his village will listen long enough to hear what his problem is before offering solutions. The poor bear wanders from shop to shop, each time getting cut off one word earlier in his explanation, each time getting something he didn’t need...
  • Best Care

    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

    October 5, 2018, 09:50 AM by Donna K. Sollenberger
    Some of you have probably heard me use my dad’s favorite saying: “If you don’t have time to do it right, what makes you think you will have time to do it over?” As a child and adolescent growing up in Norm’s house, it was hard to slack off. Dad instilled in his children the desire to always do our best, even if the task was challenging or daunting. He never let any of his kids settle for anything less than excellence. It was a tough way to grow up, or at least I felt so at the time, but I now appreciate the sense of pride Dad instilled in me to always do my very best. Whether it was homework or housework, his kids always needed to demonstrate that the end product was their very best work.
  • Best Care begins with the first impression

    September 21, 2018, 08:51 AM by Donna Sollenberger
    When I was fifteen years old, I got a work permit and started working after school and on weekends at the IGA grocery store that my dad managed in Springfield, Illinois. As a clerk, I ran a cash register that required you to manually enter the cost of each item (there were no bar codes or bar code scanners then). It was “back in the day” when items were marked 3 for $1.00, so this meant we had to charge 34 cents for the first item, and then 33 cents for the second and third items. Being able to do “mental math” was a plus as a checkout clerk.
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center outpatient facility on UTMB Health League City Campus - artist rendering

    Some things are worth working hard and waiting for

    September 13, 2018, 14:20 PM by Donna K. Sollenberger
    When I was young, I was working toward a very important goal in my life, and I had planned out exactly what I needed to do in order to make this goal a reality. I placed each step of my plan on a timeline so I could see when each task would be initiated and completed. I also noted the people whose help I would need along the way and the financial resources necessary to realize my goal. Armed with confidence in my newly developed plan, I moved forward with the first step. At the beginning, there were many “fits and starts.” It seemed on many days, I would take one step forward and two steps back. On other days, I felt as if I had the world by the tail because everything was going smoothly. Yet at other times, I felt as though I might be headed down the wrong path. I would complain to my dad that maybe I should quit—it was too hard, and I felt like it was taking too much time away from other aspects of my life...
  • Napkin with writing: Do you like me? Check Yes or No

    It isn’t always as easy as checking “yes or no”

    September 7, 2018, 12:00 PM by Donna Sollenberger
    Over the weekend, I was listening to my car radio when a George Strait song, “Check Yes or No,” came on. This song always makes me smile, because it reminds me of a very funny story that involved my son, Blake, and his four college roommates. Blake was a senior in college at a Wisconsin university. It was Saturday, and he and his roommates had decided to drive to Janesville to have lunch at AppleBee’s. Just as he and his roommates were about to leave for the restaurant, one of his roommates, Matt, got a call from his girlfriend who wanted to go to lunch. Matt told the others he was changing his plans to go to lunch with his girlfriend instead. He also said that his girlfriend wanted to go to AppleBee’s, so he asked the rest of his roommates to choose another place to eat. Thinking back, I am sure Matt wished he had never asked them to change lunch plans! As you probably can predict, the roommates decided they were definitely eating at AppleBee’s...