The Benefits of Early Entry into ACHE Preparing Students to Become Leaders
By Barbara Fallon
Darrell Leggett, II, has been associated with ACHE since his student years at Baylor University in Texas. He credits mentorship, networking and educational programs with grooming his evolution from initial clinical aspirations to a healthcare administrative career with a foundation in science, along with a rich exposure to the humanities and a focus on relationships and experiences in the changing nature of health care in the 21st century.
As a student member, he found ACHE member executives willing to guide him and share feedback on his goals. He has also enjoyed participating in developmental programming and networking, which has been invaluable in pairing him with his current four-year association and growth with HCA, America.
After earning a BA in Medical Humanities and an MBA majoring in Health Care Administration and serving as an HCA Administrative Resident, then Practice Director positions in Texas and currently Director of Medical Services in Palm Beach, he has learned the value of using listening skills through ACHE guidance.
Leggett explained, “It turned my initial perceptions of organizational performance upside down. I now think of an inverted triangle with the front line providing information to the CEO and in turn gaining support for policy and procedure improvements that benefit staff, patients and the bottom line. “I have found that listening to the diverse perspectives of frontline caregivers, regardless of their status within an organization, is key to achieving patient satisfaction. Establishing operational policies to support, not dictate, changes to frontline staff empowers them and creates a staff culture where procedures and attitudes positively impact patient satisfaction scores,” a- he concluded.
Even before entering healthcare, Leggett was always interested in customer service. He worked in the restaurant industry and often dealt with rude, grumpy, or dissatisfied customers.
According to Leggett, “In health care, this attitude may have a legitimate cause, as patients may suffer or families may worry while waiting for diagnostic or therapeutic results. Physicians can be stressed by financial constraints, bureaucratic politics, inefficient systems, or any number of operational issues. My job is to listen to those concerns and participate in ways to resolve or alleviate dissatisfaction. It’s not necessarily true that our customers or our suppliers are rude, it’s that we need to better appreciate and improve the individual situations that feed their concerns.
Now that he and his wife have settled in South Florida, he feels ready to give back and volunteer on membership committees to launch initiatives, such as topical symposia dealing with marketing, ethics, finance, diversity and patient orientation, with students from local business schools. It also serves as a resource to engage local executives to participate and share experiential knowledge during educational programs or learn through collegial networking conversations.
The advice from mentors he took early in his career reminds him to avoid complacency and always seek out meaningful opportunities for advancement, not just a title. He adheres to the maxim that learning should be a lifelong journey.
“Listening and collaborating with colleagues, reading a book, getting the next certification…these are all steps that build and support one’s ambition,” he said. “Now that I pay it forward, I share this when networking with the next generation of leaders. I advise them to seek out learning opportunities outside of the classroom, such as networking through ACHE. ‘other has been there before you and if you relate to golf; it’s much easier to learn the basics of a good golf swing early than to correct a bad one later,’ he said. .