Since his arrival in 2009, Reed Reyman's time at CHI St. Alexius Health in Dickinson has revolved around community -- reestablishing trust with the community, providing good quality of care to the community, and creating a community-style work environment. As he prepares to leave CHI for Altru in Grand Forks, Reyman reflected on his time here.
One of his initial goals was to reestablish trust and transparency with the community.
"I think there had been a revolving door with administration so the community didn’t have a lot of trust in some of the things that were happening from an administrative point of view. I think they trusted the physicians and the caregivers at the time, but they didn’t really have a lot of trust in the operations necessarily ... There wasn’t a lot of transparency. There wasn’t a lot of communication going out to the public," Reyman said.
He didn't achieve that alone.
"Everybody that’s a positive leader in the community — and there’s a lot in Dickinson — … happened to be either engaged on the board or engaged in things that the hospital was doing, so there was a lot of support. I had a tremendous amount of ... mentorship at the time," he said. "It was a blessing for me to luck into a position that surrounded me with so many positive people ... It seemed like every time that I had a need somebody stepped up and helped or at least guided me through the process," Reyman said.
He helped oversee the building of the new hospital facility, with help from donors in the community, the Bank of North Dakota and JE Dunn.
"We were putting together a 10-year strategic plan to maybe move into a new hospital when we became more financially stable, but when the boom hit, it just happened overnight almost," Reyman said. "The old building was still in fairly good shape. It was just (that) ... we were trying to deliver 21st century medicine in a 20th century building. We were too spread out. We had too much extra space. There was a lot of inefficiency and waste … we were spending a lot of dollars keeping the entire building up and running and up to code … so we looked for more efficiencies, better ways to deliver care, looked to upgrade, especially our surgery center and do a lot more outpatient services by adding the clinic."
In the relatively new facility, the hospital received the Dickinson Chamber of Commerce's Chamber Choice Award for Young Professionals Best Place to Work of the Year, though not necessarily because of the shiny new equipment.
Reyman said one of the things he's most proud of achieving in his time at CHI is establishing a positive work culture.
"The word is out that this is a place you want to work. For us to have openings for nursing staff where we have 10-12 nurses applying for a single position and all the rest of my colleagues can’t find nurses — I think the thing I’m most proud of is that the culture has turned and the perception is that this is a great place to work, a place people want to work," he said.
Having that culture allows them to keep positions filled, which contributes to the quality of care their patients receive.
"We don’t have much traveling staff anymore, which means we’re able to fill positions," Reyman said. "With that comes a lot of consistency. I’m proud of that mostly because with that consistency, our quality of care has gone way up. Probably one of my proudest moments was last year in 2018 when we received the quality award for the best quality of patient care in all of CHI, which is well over 100 facilities. That was very nice to be able to go up on stage and receive an award in front of my peers showing that we had the highest quality of care. That was pretty cool."
To achieve that culture and that quality of care, Reyman said they take input from all of their employees.
"I think the biggest thing was listening to the frontline staff and getting them engaged and having them help guide us through the process, including everyone in the planning, in the strategy, that works here, just not trying to push it from the top down, but listening and working it … across all the different disciplines that work in the hospital, getting input from everybody, whether they’re a housekeeper or you work in the kitchen or you’re a nurse or a physician," he said.
Reyman said they worked together like a family to provide the best care they can for their patients.
"Good families know how to fight and how to forgive and how to continue to show respect for each other and how to have each other’s back, and that’s the culture that we’ve created here, I believe. We don’t have any problem pointing out to each other what we think we need to do better, but at the same time, it’s not done in a way that’s meant to be confrontational. It’s a way that always puts the patient first," he said.
When he leaves the hospital, he said he'll miss the people the most.
"I’m going to miss the people I work with. I’m going to miss the hard conversations where either I learned or hopefully I was able to help someone else learn and move forward. I’m going to miss just about everything, actually," Reyman said.
He said he wants to thank the community of Dickinson.
"I just can’t thank the Dickinson community enough. They’ve been so welcoming and helpful and (there’s) an unbelievable amount of leadership in this community. It’s been great.," Reyman said.
Leaving CHI was a very difficult decision for him.
"I wasn’t planning this at all. This is one of those things that just came together. A casual conversation started and ended up being a job offer," Reyman said.
He leaves the hospital in a good place.
"Everything is stable and in a good spot right now ... Not many people get the opportunity to leave when things are going well, at the top of the game," Reyman laughed. " ... I think the sign of good leadership is when things don’t collapse when you go. Hopefully, it’s just seamless. I hope everybody’s excited about it, the new person is. I think some fresh eyes and fresh ideas will help, too ...I’m anxious and excited to see who the next person’s going to be to step in and continue to move it forward."
At the end of August, he will be leaving CHI for AlTru in Grand Forks to work as their executive vice president of regional development.
"AlTru … is the main referral tertiary center for a lot of that area, for northeastern North Dakota, northwest Minnesota. They’ve had a lot going on in the region," he said. "The things I enjoy most are mentoring and development, and the opportunity came to me ... to work with them, to help them provide the best care that they can for those small communities. I grew up in a small community in Montana … I have a passion for rural health, and it’s an opportunity for me to do that. At the same time, I also have family and grandchildren that are in that area," Reyman said.