By Rebecca Shinneman, Team & Organizational Development Directorate, OTSGNovember 15, 2012
"You are important, your job is vital to the success of our Soldiers," stated Mr. Fred Larson, Special Assistant to the Army Surgeon General and Program Coordinator for the Begin with the BASICS program to every Contact Manager he trains within the PEBLO program. Begin with the BASICS is an interpersonal toolkit to utilize in the delivery of care, service and service recovery and is being incorporated into the PEBLO curriculum across Army Medicine.
The acronym BASICS stand for: Break Barriers, Anticipate and Accommodate, Seek Solutions, Initiate and Interact, Communicate, Service. During the training Contact Managers from the PEBLO program are taught about each component of BASICS. Beginning with Break Barriers; which is to overcome obstacles in order to provide great service. Participants consider resources, processes, procedures, policies and even mindset when they look at how to break barriers. Anticipate & Accommodate is to be aware of what patients, their families, and coworkers need and to take action. Seek solutions by acknowledging problems and doing everything you can to find a solution. Initiate and interact means always being the one to make contact and offer assistance. It's always worth it even if you get a negative response. Communication is a two-way process of reaching mutual understanding and that the majority of our communication is non-verbal and Service which is the essence of trust driven care or an excellent service experience.
A Contact Manager for the PEBLO program serves as a "liaison between the Soldier and the numerous agencies they have to deal with. They are there to guide the Soldier through the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) and the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) process," explains Ernest Longs, PEBLO Supervisor at Joint Base Lewis McChord. He also stated the Contact Managers serve as the Soldiers resource, serving as their point of contact and answering questions.
When asked about the addition of the Begin with the BASICS training Mr. Dwayne Stubblefield, Course Manager for the PEBLO Course at AMEDD Center and School, reflected upon the fact that "sometimes we are not customer friendly and the BASICS training reiterates the reason we are here and about the way we treat our Soldiers. The PEBLO program is one of our most important jobs." Stubblefield went on to explain about the importance of taking care of our Soldiers and their families and doing everything we can. Or as Mr. Nenad Drca, Contact Manager from Joint Base Lewis McChord, said "it is an honor and privilege to spend my day working with Soldiers. I am a link in a chain of health." Drca is a new Contact Manager but served as linguist in the Military previously. He explained that his job is about building relationships through consistency and integrity.
Across Army Medicine Larson and other members of the Team & Organizational Development Directorate are working with the PEBLO program focusing on the care experience and teaching how important it is to communicate using active listening.
During his training sessions Larson often refers to a time in his life that changed his way of being. He was working at a large military medical center and had spent many extra hours that week already. He was tired and heading home again late into the night. He was walking down the hallway past patient's rooms, passing staff and patients on his way to his car. He came upon a lady in the hallway who looked upset. He goes on to say he decided to stop and asked if he could help instead of just walking by. Turns out the lady was there with her ill husband but was dreading the long drive home. As she was unable to find lodging close by and had an hour or more to drive home. Larson explains at that moment he decided he needed to help so he took the time and called around and got lodging on post for the night for her. She thanked him and he went on his way home. When he returned the next day and was walking by the husband's room he noticed the room was empty and the bed was made up. He asked the staff what happened to the gentleman in the room. Turns out he had passed during the night however; his wife was able to be with him during the final moments since she was staying so close. The time it took him to stop and help was no more than 10 minutes but it made a lifetime of difference.
The principle goal of, Begin with the BASICS is to transform the culture of Army Medicine to embrace our core values and practice them in all our affairs. Every day Army Medicine can make a difference in a Soldier and family member's life. We are walking down the hall and stopping and asking questions. The Begin with the BASICS training is part of the transition within Army Medicine and together with the PEBLO Program is part of the change that will cause irreversible momentum in Army Medicine.