Lani Dickinson’s tenure at Emanuel Medical Center has been extended, as the nurse turned hospital administrator was named the Turlock hospital’s new Chief Executive Officer. Dickinson is well acquainted with EMC, having served as its interim CEO for the past four months following the departure of Sue Micheletti.
“Lani has a strong commitment to quality, patient experience and evidence-based best practices,” said Warren Kirk, CEO of Tenet’s Northern California Group, which owns Emanuel Medical Center. “We are excited to have Lani continue serving as an executive on our team in Northern California. She has shown passion and dedication to providing the highest level quality of care to our patients in the Turlock community and surrounding areas.”
Dickinson hit the ground running when she came to EMC in March, making significant changes to the way patients receive care — especially in the hospital’s emergency department.
Dickinson focused on the emergency department because 70 percent of the patients served by Emanuel each year originally come to the hospital through the ER. The changes she implemented aim to smooth the process from being a patient in the ER to one who is admitted to the hospital.
When a physician in the ER decides that a patient needs to be admitted, the nursing director from the inpatient floor now goes down to the emergency department and checks in with the patient and continues to check in every two hours until he or she is given a bed on the inpatient floor.
Dickinson also set up a separate area of the emergency department for patients who a doctor has decided to admit to the hospital. This separate eight-bed unit is staffed with inpatient nurses and a physician who just focuses on the patient’s admission.
Another change Dickinson made in the ER was a focus on care continuity. This means letting patients know what healthcare resources there are in the community as a way to try and “keep them in their home and independent,” she said during an interview in April.
Along with new procedures in the ER, Dickinson also made changes at the bedside.
“In healthcare in general, a patient comes in and they don’t understand anything that’s going on around them. Nobody’s really talking to them in a way that they understand,” she said in April.
To address this problem, Dickinson is now having the nurses give their shift reports in front of the patient. Along with going over the status over the past shift, it also allows the nurses to ask the patient how their medicine has been working or if they have any other questions. Emanuel has also implemented hourly rounds, where the nurse checks in with each patient.
Dickinson also had the nurses change the way they give out medicine. Now, the patient is given a card with three questions on it to ask the nurse: What are my medications? What is the purpose of the medications? What are the potential side effects?
According to Dickinson, this activates an active learning process and allows patients to be more informed about their care.
Dickinson said that the hospital has already seen a marked improvement in patient satisfaction. In April, Emanuel announced it received an “A” rating in The Leapfrog Group’s Spring 2018 Safety Score, demonstrating the hospital’s commitment to delivering safe, high-quality patient care to the Central Valley community.
The Leapfrog Group assigns A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals based on their ability to prevent errors, injuries, accidents and infections.
“This is the only national rating of how well hospitals protect patients from preventable harm and death, such as medical errors, infections, and injuries,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “Receiving an ‘A’ Safety Grade means a hospital is among the best in the country for preventing these terrible problems and putting their patients first, 24 hours a day.”
Dickinson started her healthcare career as a unit clerk at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto and left as chief nurse and then decided to “bridge the gap” between what happens on the floor and the administrators making policy by going back to school to get a master’s degree in business administration.
Prior to Emanuel, Dickinson served as the chief nursing executive of Tenet Healthcare’s former Western Region from 2015-2017. Prior to the regional leadership role, she served as the chief operating officer at Lakewood Regional Medical Center and spent many years at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto serving in various leadership positions including chief nursing officer, director of clinical quality improvement, director of patient care services and in several nursing roles.