University Hospital administrators trade suits for scrubs

A dozen administrators at San Antonio's University Hospital found out first-hand today what it's like to be a nurse on its Level I trauma center. The leadership team, which typically spends its day attending meetings and pushing paperwork, shadowed nurses instead and watched them deliver care to the region's most sick and injured patients, the San Antonio Business Journal reported.

The event, "Walk in My Shoes," is an opportunity for health system leaders to see direct patient care in action and better understand the role nurses play at the hospital, says Julie Wiley, spokeswoman for University Hospital, which is part of the University Health System. The hospital leaders trading in their business suits for scrubs included the CEO, vice president and chairman of the board.

While nurses are busy helping to save lives and care for patients, hospital leaders are busy focused on budgets, strategic planning and other administrative work. They rarely get to see what goes on behind-the scenes of healthcare, Wiley explained. The administration team met in the morning for their assignments and will discuss their experiences later today with the group.

 "It has been an eye opening experience so far," A.J. Sandoval, chief of police for the health system, told FierceHealthcare after spending part of his morning paired with a nurse in the inpatient dialysis unit. "The nurses are so professional, skilled and knowledgeable. But what is remarkable to see is the compassion they have for their patients. And I don't think it was because I was there watching. They are genuinely compassionate people."

Sandoval, who planned on shadowing a nurse in the cath-lab in the afternoon, says he thinks other hospitals across the country should consider offering a similar program to truly understand the work nurses and the medical staff do every day. "I think it's so important and to take a little time and walk in their shoes. It really has opened my eyes to the uniqueness of the job and the relationship nurses have with their patients," he said.

Wiley said the hospital first launched the program in 2008. The event coincides with National Nurses Week, typically held in May.

To learn more:
- read the hospital statement about the event
- read the article