By: Anna K. Saulitis - QI Coordinator, Rush University Medical Center
Each summer, I receive a handful of emails from social work students—they are eager to find out what healthcare social work is. They want the details of my day-to-day. I share a few typical words of advice with each one: listen more than you speak, patients are the experts, see challenges as opportunities. They are often surprised by my final suggestion – look for ways to practice Quality Improvement.
When I started my current role as the Rush CF social worker I had no idea it would include QI work. Crisis management, insurance, and difficult conversations? Sure! Run charts, data, and PDSAs? Excuse me, what? Now, nearly six years and as many QI projects later, I can’t imagine what my practice would be without the knowledge and tools that are the framework of healthcare quality improvement.
I participate in the network as the QI coordinator for our Rush team because I value the way QI provides a foundation and a structure for the pursuit of excellence in clinical practice. The coordinator role was an opportunity to manage a new and exciting approach to our team’s projects (and gave me a chance to talk more than I already do!) Being the coordinator of a project outside of clinic work challenges me to improve my communication, organization, and time management—valuable skills to maintain in the evolving world of healthcare!