Commissioner Fitzgerald Interviews Beth Jones

Beth Jones joined our team at Georgia Regional Hospital Savannah in August 2003 as the Infection Control and Employee Health Coordinator. She advanced to Associate Nurse Executive in December 2004; serving in that capacity until June 2009 when she was appointed Director of Quality Management where she remained until September 2020. During her tenure in Quality Management, Beth helped lead the hospital’s successful Joint Commission (TJC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Accreditation/Licensure surveys and was designated as TJC and CMS compliance coordinator for GRHS. Beth also served as Director, Quality and Risk Management supporting GRHS under the Director of the Division of Hospital Services Office of Hospital System Quality and Risk Management as of September 2020 until her promotion to RHA on April 16, 2021.

Recently Beth took time from her busy calendar to speak with Commissioner Fitzgerald about how she manages her time at Georgia Regional Hospital in Savannah and what her greatest talent is away from the facility.

What is your SDI Motivational Value System and how do you use SDI at Georgia Regional Hospital?

My MVS is RED-Blue. I am motivated by celebrating others’ success. I get significant pleasure in mentoring and motivating others to achieve excellence. I use SDI to better understand myself and to motivate others. Before going into a meeting, I review the staff members’ MVS and approach issues in a way that fits their individual needs/ MVS. We are in the process of completing the SDI 2.0 training for our Leadership team, once the training is completed, we plan to use SDI for team building and enhancing trust among our leaders.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at work?

When I arrive at work, I get my temperature screen and speak to everyone I pass as I walk to my office. I turn on the lights in my office and open my computer, review any unread messages, look at my calendar for the day, then attend the morning Administrative/COVID report. We review the status of individuals and staff for COVID signs/symptoms, then we review the 24-hour administrative report to determine acuity and how the individuals are doing. If there are things that need further clarification, we identify who would be the ones to follow up to obtain more information.

How often do you round and meet with your staff?

I provide orientation to the hospital for new staff during New Staff Orientation each week. Dr. Bishara and I have attended Treatment Team meetings weekly, choosing one unit each week to attend. More recently, we have called into the treatment team meetings, because we held virtual treatment team meetings secondary to COVID risk. I have attended some of the individual department staff meetings. I also participate in our HRC meetings twice each month. I send emails out to all staff on a regular basis, at times to inform them of certain issues, and at other times to thank them for the work they are doing. I send out special notices to everyone when staff needs to be highlighted for a job well done. I communicate to staff that if they need to meet with me, particularly as it relates to suggestions for how to improve processes or if they need a little encouragement to please stop by to talk.

What is the most challenging part of your day?

I am one of those people who believe if you love what you do, then work is a joy. I truly love what I do, so I find work to be energizing, particularly in this position, because I much of the time, am able to make a difference in improving processes.

That being said, there are two times that I find challenging. The first is when we are attempting to hire a staff member, and the person asks for more than was offered. I struggle to try to meet the individual’s request, while at the same time remaining budget neutral. The second challenging time is when HR brings to me termination letters that I am required to sign. I find this difficult because at times I wonder if there could have been anything we could have done to salvage that person.

What do you consider your greatest talent or skill outside of work?

I enjoy sharing with people, decorating, cooking, and entertaining. It is quite a pleasure to me when friends and family feel like they are coming to a “Bed and Breakfast” when they come for a visit.

Additionally, I have been a youth group leader, a Sunday School, and a Vacation Bible School teacher over the years. I hope that my contributions have been helpful to young adolescents as they were getting launched into pursuing their respective paths.

What are some of the key goals you hope to accomplish in Fiscal Year 2022 at Georgia Regional Hospital? 

  • We will be enhancing Teambuilding for Leadership through SDI
  • Will establish a Workplace Violence Committee
  • Will Enhance Building 1 and other buildings throughout the campus with art paintings provided by our individuals.
  • Plan to establish a GRHS Young Leaders Group to enhance leadership skills and identify leaders for the future
  • Continue preparing for our 2022 TJC Triennial Survey

How has the pandemic impacted your work and how have you led over the past 19 months?

We have the COVID Team that meets regularly to discuss and ensure that we are following policies and protocols. There have been times that we have had to limit active treatment secondary to COVID. Certainly, COVID has affected our staffing levels negatively. We have managed to minimize risks for our individuals and staff due to our diligence in following policies and protocols regarding COVID. And I believe that at least for the COVID team members, we have communicated better with each other. There have been many times that we disagreed with each other, but we stayed at the table until we could come up with reasonable resolutions to problems identified.

If you had an opportunity to pass along a “word of advice” to another Regional Hospital Administrator what would you tell her/him?

Listen to what your staff is saying to you. Encourage and empower them. Make every effort to meet them halfway, and when you can’t, tell them why.