Teamwork and Collaboration in Nursing

As Emily Hebert recently discussed her new role as CHD’s new director of nursing services, she recalled what drew her into nursing in the first place: the ability to make a difference by improving client care and outcomes—and the fact that nurses have the power to do this by bringing their ideas to the table.

At present, Hebert is meeting with nurses throughout CHD’s divisions, programs, and services. Ultimately, her role will be essential in helping standardize workflows and processes, and ensuring the quality of the nursing care provided meets CHD’s standard of excellence.

She plays a critical role in assisting Dr. Jalil Johnson, who was recently promoted to senior vice president of Medical Services, in effectively integrating medical services throughout the agency, including psychiatry, primary care, nursing, and pharmacy. Hebert is also helping connect and support the community of nurses throughout CHD.

Hebert was previously director of nursing in CHD’s Disability and Elder Services division, and she is extremely proud of her team’s accomplishments. “Over the last four years we built workflows and systems that are really efficient in a residential program such as our Meadows Homes,” she said of our residential homes for the developmentally disabled.

At Disability and Elder Services she was responsible for the healthcare coordination, medical oversight, triage, and medication compliance of the individuals served in CHD’s group homes, and she provided direct oversight and supervision of the division’s nurses.

She said, however, that the processes that have been effective for Meadows Homes might not necessarily work for other programs, especially CHD’s outpatient clinics. “The worlds between our programs and clinics are very different,” she said. “I’m still learning everything about our clinics—my previous scope here was very focused. So I’m meeting the nurses and immersing myself in their world. I can help them more if I better understand what their day-to-day work life looks like.”

Hebert believes in taking a collaborative, team-minded, silo-breaking approach to improve efficiency and facilitate effective communication. “I want to bring the nurses together physically—many of us haven’t met one another yet—so my hope is to have an opportunity to team-build, engage, and put faces to names,” she said.

She will work closely with senior leaders, directors, and nurses throughout CHD. Herbert didn’t define her leadership style, except to say that she works best with people who are creative and who are self-starters. “I believe in being approachable so that people can bring their concerns and ideas to me, and I can encourage them to create their own vision for how to get the job done,” she said. “I want people to bring not only problems to me, but possible solutions, and I will do whatever I can to make that solution possible.”

Hebert’s prior experience includes nursing roles at Baystate Children’s Hospital, MedExpress Urgent Care, and Caring Health Center. She earned her BS in Nursing at Westfield State University. Part of what attracted her to the nursing field was seeing that nurses can make significant change to benefit those they serve. “At one time I was a behavior technician at an inpatient psychiatric hospital, and I remember feeling that I saw things that needed to be fixed, but I didn’t have the power to fix them—but nurses often did,” she said. “They have direct communication with the psychiatrists and the guardians. They led care teams, and I thought to myself, ‘These are people who can make change happen.’”