Leadership in Action with Hospitalist: Dr. Deborah Bowers

Many OBHG clinicians volunteer in leadership roles within their program hospitals, communities, or professional organizations. In the Leadership in Action series, our hospitalists share how they choose to serve others.

Dr. Deborah Bowers, team lead for one of our programs in Reston, Va., says that serving on hospital committees not only helps her connect with fellow physicians and hospital staff, but also allows her to help affect change in the facility.

Currently she is part of a group working to improve policy adherence within her hospital’s health system. One location was scoring lower than others regarding compliance with system-wide Pitocin policies. (Pitocin is a prescription drug that can help induce labor.) Bowers volunteered with a collaborative group of 10 nurses, administrators, and physicians to address the issue through a performance improvement initiative. After six months serving with the group, she says the effort is making steady progress.

Bowers also recently joined a perinatal interdisciplinary committee that is examining the chorioamnionitis infection rate at the hospital. “We are pulling the NICU admissions to determine our chorioamnionitis rate and conduct an actual study,” she says. The group hopes the study data will identify a trend and help them develop a plan to reduce the infection rate.

In addition, she is part of a committee developing a process to move the hospital’s NICU from a 28-week Level III to a 26-week Level III.

‘I think it’s the right thing to do’

When asked why she participates, Bowers says, “I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s also a way to have a solid collegial relationship with the staff and private physicians in the community.”

Serving is just part of her nature, says Bowers. “Before I wanted to be a hospitalist, I was always on one committee or another. For me it was not a big change to go back to that,” she says. “It’s nice to do some of the things that you would traditionally do as a department member that you don’t always do as a hospitalist. It makes you feel like you are integral to the department.”

Multiple benefits for clinician and community

Participating in a leadership role can increase the visibility of hospitalists and provide additional opportunities to work with the community doctors, says Bowers. “Part [of serving] is being well-known in the department and the community here. You are showing that you are committed…that you are there to see that things get better and to make a change.”

Bowers says hospital leadership fully supports OBHG clinicians who want to join committees and get involved in quality improvement initiatives. “They’re really happy to have you participate and show a vested interest in how the program is going to work out. It’s a satisfier for the hospital and for me in that I have a stronger relationship with the nursing staff, administration, and private doctors,” she says. “It’s a collegial way to make a difference.”

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