Bob Dent

Going Above and Beyond at Midland Health

When you walk through the doors of one of Midland Health’s facilities, you step into a unique Culture of Ownership where everyone is responsible for supporting a safe, engaging, encouraging, and inspiring health care environment. An expectation to own your practice and your behavior permeates out to every staff member.

“This is a happier place because our Culture of Ownership gives people the chance to practice without toxic emotional negativity,” according to Bob Dent, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, FACHE, senior vice president, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer at Midland Health. “Everyone who works here embraces our culture through daily pledges and ongoing interdisciplinary work to focus on constantly improving our culture and ourselves to make sure we are doing our best to serve our patients.”

This zero-tolerance policy against emotional negativity is deeply ingrained. Dent shares a recent incident when a medical staff member who got upset with a food service worker regarding food choices in the medical staff lounge. The medical staff member didn’t treat the food service worker nicely. Word of the incident quickly traveled to Midland Health’s chief medical officer. “He let the medical staff member know that at all levels within Midland Health’s culture, we treat people with respect and don’t tolerate incivility of any kind.”

Communication At A Higher Level

Dent says cultural training at Midland Health instills a common language around a Culture of Ownership that he reinforces in his own interactions with staff through continuous and engaging communication, including:

  • a Daily Leadership Huddle with all leaders to recite the Pickle Pledge and daily Self Empowerment pledge and also discuss important metrics such as throughput, safety and patient satisfaction,
  • Breakfast with Bob: a weekly small gathering of frontline managers, educators, care coordinators and directors to discuss what’s on their mind,
  • Brunch with Bob: a monthly gathering with frontline staff to hear what is working and what needs improvement,
  • Bob’s Listening Tours: monthly department-specific observations and listening to challenges to overcome.
  • Sacred 60: Leadership Rounds: designated time from 10–11 a.m. each day when all leaders, including Dent are free from distraction so they can round on staff and patients.

Hands-on Leadership

Dent strives to be an example of the culture he espouses by living it. His hands-on approach comes from his breadth of clinical and administrative experience as a nurse, educator and healthcare executive. He works to create a workplace environment where people can be and do their best and also have access to the resources they need to get there.

“I believe in empowering people to be and do their best, striving for excellence and following through on plans—whether its finance, quality, patients experience of care, working with our people or any other key priorities identified in our strategic plan,” Dent says. He describes his approach as open, honest, and transparent, with no hidden agendas.

Empowered Practice Through Technology, Innovation

Dent strongly believes in the value of technology to prevent staff from having to push and pull equipment or hunt and gather for supplies, which takes them away from providing safe patient care. That’s why Midland Health has established system-wide technological features that support staff, including:

  • motorized ceiling lifts in every patient room to reduce workplace injuries associated with lifting,
  • computers in every patient room for documentation so clinicians can spend more time at the bedside,
  • barcode scanners at the bedside to ensure medication is correct according to order, and
  • medication dispensers and computer stations between patient rooms to streamline care and ease of documentation
Dent also works across departments to support a quarterly innovation challenge to inspire and implement improvement on the frontline. Recognized nationally as a leading healthcare executive, Dent seeks leaders within Midland Health who will provide this same level of excellence. “We look for leaders who have the values and the attitude to succeed within our culture. If they can bring this, we will help them to be the best they can be.”