Healthy You - Every Day

Core Values Come to Life Through Excellent Colleagues

On World Values Day, we celebrate those who embody LVHN’s core values

The halls at Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) largest hospital are humming with activity around the clock. When you pass someone in the halls at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest, you may wonder where they are coming from and where they are going next.

When you see Barbara (Barb) Labriola, RN, Director of Patient Care Services on 5KS at LVH–Cedar Crest, you can be sure she is on her way to make someone smile. She has that impact on people, not just patients and their loved ones, but on her colleagues as well.

“Now is the time to focus on culture. That is how you create a sense of family, and it starts with our values.” – Barbara Labriola, RN, Director of Patient Care Services on 5KS at LVH–Cedar Crest.

Core values define us

Our values are our core. They are what we believe. They guide us in decision-making. Our values are the truest definition of who we are as individuals and as a cohesive LVHN.

See how LVHN’s core values (Compassion, Integrity, Collaboration and Excellence) come to life at LVHN through the behaviors and actions of colleagues like Labriola and her team on 5KS.

Compassion: When we demonstrate compassion, we are kind. We listen, show respect and foster a sense of belonging for all.

Compassion comes to life on 5KS: Labriola leads nurses and patient care services colleagues who care for patients on 5KS, Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute's inpatient unit. In a time when interactions are hurried by the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and human connection has been limited by masks and social distancing, Labriola is more focused on building relationships now than ever before in her career.

“People are looking for hope,” says Labriola. “People remember if you made them laugh. People remember how you make them feel. Whoever comes into the 5KS circle is welcomed. I say, ‘You belong, and you are appreciated.’”

Demonstrating compassion, Labriola creates an environment that fosters a sense of belonging for all. The benefit is clear. Labriola received a card from a nursing student who completed a clinical rotation on her unit saying, “I feel like I was able to be the best version of myself.”

“That’s the goal for all of us,” says Labriola. “Making others feel like they belong – it doesn’t take rocket science.”

Integrity: When we do what’s right, we demonstrate integrity. We act ethically and honestly, and communicate with transparency.

Integrity comes to life on 5KS: Labriola is mindful of the opportunity she has each day to make a difference in someone’s life.

“Me, my colleagues and future nurses – we all put our heart and soul into the science of nursing,” says Labriola.

In the spirit of doing what’s right, Labriola challenges her team to reflect on what they do to make a difference each day. In fact, she asks them to write it down. For one nursing student, this exercise in integrity confirmed she’s on the right career path.

“I have an idea,” the student wrote in a daily reflection. “I’ve made a real connection with this patient, and I want to get them a ‘Get Well Soon’ balloon from the gift shop.”

By the time the student returned from the gift shop, the patient temporarily left the unit for a diagnostic test. It was time for the student to go home for the day. Instead of scrapping her plans, she acted with integrity and did what she knew was right. She coordinated with Labriola and others on the unit to ensure the patient returned from the diagnostic test to a balloon at the bedside. She followed up with a phone call to the patient to share a personal get well wish.

Labriola recalls the joy on this patient’s face and reflects on the impact on the nursing student too.

“This nursing student still works on the floor today,” says Labriola. “She had no intention of working here when she completed her clinical rotation, but doing what she felt was right to comfort this patient made all the difference.”

Collaboration: When we collaborate, we’re good partners. We create exceptional experiences in a safe and secure environment.

Collaboration comes to life on 5KS: Student nurses are a fixture on 5KS. Nursing students complete clinical rotations on inpatient units at LVHN as part of their curriculum. For Labriola, mentoring future nurses is an honor, a sacred process.

“Every time I see a student, I think, ‘What is your possibility? Are you going to create a new initiative? Are you going to develop something that make us better and stronger?’” she says. “I seek them out. It’s important they feel I really care.”

Labriola recognized that department huddles were attended only by unit staff. Because every person on her unit serves a purpose, she realized that huddles were not conducted in the spirit of collaboration. Now, it’s a requirement that students not only attend, but participate in the daily unit huddle.

“Being present does not mean you are a participant,” says Labriola. “On our unit, we engage nursing students in discussion on many different topics.”

Engaging all members of the team creates exceptional experiences in a safe environment. Collaboration builds a culture where all are welcome and included.

Excellence: We demonstrate excellence when we achieve the best outcomes. We focus relentlessly on innovation and superior results.

Excellence comes to life on 5KS: For Labriola and her colleagues, pursuing excellence is part of all they do.

“Your attitude needs to reflect the attitude you want to see,” says Labriola. “Good, positive energy is the most important thing. Be positive. Focus on solutions. Imagine the best in every possibility.”

Spend any time on 5KS, and you’ll see excellence at work. The unit’s layout, amenities and processes are designed to ensure excellence in comfort, safety and infection control. Labriola and her team never stop focusing on innovation and superior results. 

“We all have the magic wand,” she says. “If you put all your effort into the possibilities, the potential for excellence is limitless.”

Core values guide us

Labriola shares her top tips for creating an exceptional experience for those around you.

“Now is the time to focus on culture,” she says. “That is how you create a sense of family, and it starts with our values.”

Here are her top tips:

  1. Compassion: Welcome everyone from day one. Dare to make connections.
  2. Integrity: Be authentic. Find a way to make a difference.
  3. Collaboration: Consider everyone’s potential. Create opportunities for partnership.
  4. Excellence: Bring the positive energy. You will attract great ideas.

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