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  • 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...
  • Breathe

    August 23, 2018, 14:50 PM by Donna Sollenberger
    My husband, Kent, and I really like the show “Modern Family.” For those of you who watch this television show, you will probably remember the episode where Phil, the father, changes to a very technologically-advanced television remote. The family makes a bet that Phil can teach Haley, the oldest daughter who is type cast as “ditzy,” to use the remote before the mother, Claire, can learn it. In our family, I am Claire. I am a person who appreciates technology, but somehow I am not that good at operating it. I am the person who cannot get the stereo system to work correctly, even when I am doing everything right. When I give up and ask my husband to try, he immediately gets it to work. It is so infuriating! If I pick up the television remote and one of my family members is home, before I can do anything, they grab it away from me. This is probably because, due to my occasional impatience, when I cannot get the remote to do what I think it should, I just start pushing all the buttons. This has led to me being blamed for any and all problems with the remote, even if I have not touched it—it has become a running joke in our family.
  • Difficult Decisions

    August 17, 2018, 15:45 PM by Donna Sollenberger
    In the summer of 2008, I received a call from one of my best friends. A week earlier, he had received news that he had cancer. The diagnosis shocked and depressed him. He had just gone over his options for care with a physician to whom he had been referred, but after that visit, my friend decided to call me for advice. After my friend told me what the oncologist said during his visit, he said that he felt he needed to explore other places where he might receive treatment and other possible treatment options. As he was dealing with an aggressive cancer, time was of the essence...
  • 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...