Standards of Behavior

At Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge


Our Standards of behavior

Our Mission
To Enhance Life by Excelling in Care.

Our Vision
To be the Best Community Healthcare System in America.

Our Values
Guiding us in our quest to be the best:

  • Commitment – Personal dedication to fulfilling the mission and achieving the vision of Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge.
    Integrity - Steadfastly adhering to high moral principles and professional conduct that models the standards of the organization and builds trust
  • Respect – Polite consideration and courtesy toward the cultures, roles, interests, opinions and wishes of patients, physicians, employees and others.
  • Excellence – An uncompromising drive to deliver outstanding performance in every aspect of responsibility.
  • Service – Putting others above self by meeting and exceeding their expectations and creating superior experiences for them at every opportunity.

Dear Colleague:

What does it take to make Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge "The Best Community HealthCare System in America?" It begins by clearly defining what is expected of you in your conduct as a member of our care team – the behaviors you must practice on-the-job correctly, consistently and completely. As a care team member of Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge, your commitment to meeting these expectations is directly linked to your personal success and satisfaction at Blue RidgeHealthCare. If you are applying to become a member of the Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge team, please be aware that these behaviors will be expected of you by your colleagues. If you do not believe you can practice them every day, then Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge may not be the best fit for you.

The greatest strength of these Standards of Excellence is that they are the product of your fellow care team members at Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge. They define the actual behaviors they have said they want and expect to see in the people with whom they work day-by-day. These standards apply equally to everyone in our system, from front line team members to managers, directors and senior leaders.

Actions do indeed speak louder than words. My expectation is that you will commit yourself to practicing these standards as you encounter patients, visitors, physicians, volunteers and fellow members of your team. If each of us is true to this commitment, then all of us will contribute greatly to Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge's mission: To Enhance Life by Excelling in Care.

Kathy C. Bailey,
President and Chief Executive Officer

A Word from the Standards Team

We are committed to improving the behaviors of Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge employees to assist us all in creating "A great place for care team members to work, a great place for physicians to practice and a great place for patients and residents to receive care."
We believe that members of our care team are a caring force. Ensuring that behavior means incorporating these Standards of Service Excellence into our daily work lives at BRHC.

Everyone is expected to hold each other accountable to these standards and help create an environment at BRHC founded on positive Attitudes, Commitment and Trust. How we ACT will ultimately determine our success on our Journey to Excellence at Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge.

The Standards Team
September 2003

What are Customers?

  • Customers are the most important persons in any business.
  • Customers are not dependent on us. We are dependent on them.
  • Customers are not an interruption of our work. They are the purpose of it.
    Customers do us a favor when they come in. We aren't doing them a favor by waiting on them.
  • Customers are part of our business, not outsiders.
  • Customers are not just money in the cash register. They are human beings with feelings and deserve to be treated with respect.
  • Customers are persons who come to us with their needs and their wants. It is our job to fill them.
  • Customers deserve the most courteous attention we can give them. They are the lifeblood of this and every business. They pay our salary. Without them, we would have to close up. Let us never forget it.

Safety vs. Service: What's the Priority?

Standards of Behavior define in practical terms how you are expected to act, dress and interact with patients, families, physicians and your fellow care team members. While these standards are key to living out our values every day on the job, nothing is more important than patient safety and quality care. They are our two top priorities at Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge. If faced with the choice of practicing a Standard of Behavior or helping see that a patient, resident or member receives proper care, your first responsibility is always to their safety and care.

BRHC Standards of Behavior - For Employees of Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge

I. Commitment - Personal dedication to fulfilling the mission and achieving the vision of Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge.

Your personal mission as an employee of Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge is the same as the mission of our organization as a whole: To enhance life by excelling in care. Fulfilling this mission requires a personal commitment on your part. All members of the Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge care team are expected to work together to create a "team spirit." We are linked to one another by our common mission, vision and values. "That's not my job" is not in our BRHC vocabulary.

  • Develop a sense of personal ownership in Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge.
  • Work to create a positive environment. Negativity affects everyone with whom you come into contact and will not be tolerated.
  • Be responsible, take pride in your work and create successes that we can all enjoy. Strive to do the job right the first time.

Unless you have 100 percent customer satisfaction -- and I don't mean that they are just satisfied, I mean that they are excited about what you are doing -- you have to improve. And if you have 100 percent customer satisfaction, you have to make sure that you listen just in case they change...so you can change with them.

Horst Schulze
President and CEO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
1992 winner of the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award

II. Integrity - Steadfastly adhering to high moral principles and professional conduct that models the standards of the organization and builds trust

A. Building Trust - Building trust involves supporting a Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge belief system that is founded in truth, integrity, and consistency. This will help make BRHC a great place for care team members to work, for physicians to practice and for patients and residents to receive care. As members of a team, we are expected to:

  1. Be supportive of each other.
  2. Treat each other with courtesy and respect.
  3. Help co-workers feel comfortable to ask for your help.
  4. Have regard for each other's area of expertise.
  5. Be honest with each other and respond truthfully, with the
  6. best interest of the organization at heart.
  7. React professionally in all situations.

A patient can offer you no higher tribute than to entrust you with his life and health, and, by implication, with the happiness of all his family. To be worthy of this trust we must submit for a lifetime to the constant discipline of unwearied effort in the search of knowledge; and of most reverent devotion to every detail in every operation that we perform.

Sir Berkeley Moynihan (1865-1936)
English Surgeon in Abdominal Operations

B. Integrity: Confidentiality of Patient Information - Patients must have confidence that their private healthcare information will be protected and treated with the utmost confidentiality, as defined by federal and state laws. Every care team member at Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge is responsible for ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of patient information.

  1. Before accessing or discussing any patient information, always ask yourself, "Is this information I need in order to do my job?" If not, then do not access or discuss it.
  2. Discuss patient information in private areas. Never discuss information about patient care in public areas such as elevators, lobbies, cafeterias, snack bars, or waiting rooms.
  3. Follow HIPAA guidelines.
  4. All patient records are kept confidential.

It is awfully important to know what is and what is not your business.
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) - American Writer

C. Integrity: Personal Privacy Etiquette

  1. Always call the patient's name and knock before entering a patient room. Wait for a response before entering.
  2. Close curtains and doors during procedures and when privacy is needed.
  3. Provide the right size gown for the patient.
  4. If a patient is in a wheelchair, walking or being transported, provide a blanket or sheet as an additional modesty cover.

III. Respect - Polite consideration and courtesy toward the cultures, roles, interests, opinions and wishes of patients, physicians, employees and others.
Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge is committed to providing superior service. Every encounter you have with patients, physicians, volunteers, families, visitors and your BRHC colleagues is a "moment of truth" which reflects your personal attitude and our organization's seriousness to meeting our customers' needs with the utmost care, courtesy and attention.

  1. Our goal and yours will be to meet and exceed our customers' expectations. Remember that they are not an interruption of our work but the reason for our work.
  2. Be respectful to everyone. Treat each person as you would like yourself or the persons closest to you to be treated.
  3. Never, never, never be rude. BRHC believes in "zero tolerance" for discourtesy toward a customer.
  4. Recognize the value and potential of each person.
  5. Remain open to new ideas, viewpoints, and talents.
  6. Be sure to convert all cell phones and pagers to the off or vibrate position when in the presence of guests or in meetings with other employees.
  7. Value the diversity of the many traditions, creeds and backgrounds represented in our work force, Medical Staffs and community.

IV. Excellence - An uncompromising drive to deliver outstanding performance in every aspect of responsibility.

  1. Make sure all your personal and team work is such that you would be proud to sign your name to it.
  2. Research best practices in your area of expertise and strive to deliver "best in class" products and services to all your patients and guests.


V. Service - Putting others above self by meeting and exceeding their expectations and creating superior experiences for them at every opportunity.

A. Service: C.A.R.E. and A.I.D.E.T.
Creating a positive memorable experience for all our patients, residents, members, customers and guests is our primary objective under our Service Pillar. By adhering to these guidelines, we can ensure that each guest is treated with consistent excellence by all of us at Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge.
C - Connect with every guest. Stop, focus, and give them the moment.
Acknowledgethe guest. Smile (when appropriate) and make eye contact.
Introduceyourself, greet them warmly. Use their name whenever possible.
A - Anticipate guest needs. Offer directions and escort them to their destination.
Duration: describe how long the test, procedure, or service will last. Listen and engage them in conversation.
R - Respond compassionately to guest questions and requests.
Explain tests, procedures, and activities. Answer all questions with a smile on your face and in your voice. Respond promptly to requests. Own service recovery when discovered.
E - Exhibit professional behavior at all times. Always portray a neat, clean appearance.
Always use open, positive, and appropriate body language.
Thank the guest for choosing BRHC.

B. Service: Personal Appearance
Your appearance on the job is not only a reflection of your personal competence, professionalism and attitude. It reflects on everyone at Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge.

  1. Attire will always be tasteful, discreet and professional.
  2. Dress for success. Be neat and well-groomed. If you are, customers will feel that they are in a clean environment, too.
  3. All care team members will adhere to the general dress code at BRHC and to their specific department dress code policy, where applicable.
  4. Visible tattoos must be covered while on the job.
  5. Nose rings and body piercings may not be visible while on duty.
  6. Earrings and other ornamental jewelry must be limited in number and never interfere with the functions of your position. Male team members must not wear earrings.
  7. Your photo identification badge will be worn at all times while on duty—photo-side out and at eye level to assist our customers in identifying you and your role on the BRHC team.

Most people are of the opinion that those healthcare workers who are not tidy in their own persons cannot look after others well.
A Slight Paraphrase of Hippocrates
Greek Physician & Founder of Modern Medicine

C. Service: Environmental Ownership

  1. Help keep our facilities and grounds clean and safe.
  2. If you see trash on the floor or ground, pick it up.
  3. If you see a spill, see that it is cleaned up.
  4. Be particularly concerned about any debris, spill, or obstacle that could cause someone to slip, trip or fall.
  5. All Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge facilities and grounds are smoke-free, therefore smoking is not permitted anywhere on the grounds. Please help remind fellow team members and guests of this policy if you observe someone smoking.
  6. Keep your personal work area neat, clean and orderly.

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, "Here lived a great sweeper, who swept his job well."

Martin Luther King, Jr.
American Clergyman and Reformer

D. Service: Communications Etiquette
Communications are powerful. How you communicate with customers either adds to or subtracts from their experience and their likelihood of recommending Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge to family and friends. Practice excellence in your communications with our patients, physicians, and each other.

1. General Communications Etiquette

  • Speak to everyone.
  • Always communicate with care. Speak calmly, clearly and courteously.
  • When a customer speaks, stop what you are doing and listen carefully. Give each one your full and prompt attention.
  • Make it a habit to say please, thank you and you are welcome in your conversations.
  • Use "sir" and "ma'am," as appropriate.
  • Never call a patient, physician or family member by their first name unless you have permission to do so.
  • Never confuse a patient or family member by using medical jargon or abbreviations they may not understand. Thank our customers for choosing Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge.
  • Use "key words at key times.

Quality is the unyielding and continuing effort by everyone in an organization to understand, meet, and exceed the needs of its customers.

Earl C. Conway
Director, Corporate Quality Improvement
Procter & Gamble

2. Customer Acknowledgement and Escorting Etiquette

  • Greet each person with positive eye contact and an appropriate smile. Do not allow anyone to feel ignored.
  • Look for persons who are obviously in need of directions and offer to help.
  • When giving customers directions or information, avoid technical or professional terms.
  • Do not simply give directions. Personally escort the customer to his or her destination. If you cannot escort them, take the customer to someone who can.
  • As patients move through the system assist them at every opportunity, help them find the next department they need to visit, escorting them personally, particularly if they are confused.

3. Telephone Etiquette

Answer phones within 3 rings.
Answer the call in a friendly tone of voice at all times.
Identify yourself to the caller by giving:
Your first name
The name of your department
Do not put customers on hold without asking and receiving permission first. If you are delayed during the hold, return to the customer every 30 seconds to acknowledge the caller and provide a status report.
Return calls promptly, within one business day, if possible.
Thank callers for returning your calls promptly.
If the phone rings and you are meeting with a customer, courteously place the caller on hold and continue to respond to the customer.
Place paperwork down and give full attention to the customer.
Place phones on voice mail only when necessary, especially during normal business hours.
Keep voice mail messages short and to the point. Avoid long and complex messages.
Close with your contact information, repeating your phone number twice so the listener does not have to replay the message.
Voice mail messages should be returned within 24 hours or the next business day.
Note any planned absences in the recorded message with alternative contact information provided for the caller.
After normal business hours, the voice mail message should include an alternative phone number, if applicable, or other means of reaching the appropriate BRHC contact in the event of an emergency.

Listening to customers must become everyone's business. With most competitors moving ever faster, the race will go to those who listen (and respond) most intently.

Tom Peters
American business writer - in Thriving on Chaos

4. Elevator etiquette

  • Smile and speak to fellow passengers to create a favorable impression with our patients, physicians, volunteers, families, visitors and fellow team members.
  • Never discuss patient information in the elevator. Maintain organizational integrity and patient confidentiality.
  • Hold elevator doors open and give directions, if needed, as patients, families or visitors are entering or leaving the elevator.
  • If assisting someone entering or leaving the building, personally walk them to the elevator door.
  • NO "me first" behavior. Patients, elderly or any guests will be allowed to exit first.

5. Email etiquette

Use e-mail wisely. When possible, rely on personal contact via phone or visit, rather than e-mail.
Respond to e-mails within 24 hours, if possible.
Words typed in all capital letters are equivalent to yelling in an e-mail and will not be used.
Be a courteous e-mailer: use "please," "thank you," and "you are welcome" in your correspondence.

E. Service: Call Lights

Patients will be visited regularly to assess and respond to needs.
Prior to leaving a patient's room, ask if there is anything else you can do for them. Call lights will be acknowledged within 5 minutes.
When passing an unanswered call light on any floor or hall, ask the patient, "How can I help you?"
Always check with patients or residents before you leave the area during or at the conclusion of your shift.

F. Service Explanation & Customer Waiting

Our customers' time is valuable. From the moment they enter Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge, we will provide them with prompt and courteous service. Nonetheless, there are times when waiting is unavoidable.

Properly managed, these are opportunities to reinforce our commitment to superior service:

  • Always thank customers for waiting and apologize for the delay.
  • Offer refreshments or reading materials to waiting family members.
  • Educate our customers about the process or procedure they are about to undergo.
  • Tell them how long it will take and about how soon it will start.
  • Give periodic progress reports — every 15 minutes — during the waiting period to keep the customer updated. If a scheduled procedure or exam is significantly delayed, let the customer decide whether to come in later or make a new appointment.
  • If the procedure will cause any discomfort or pain, explain this to the patient in advance.
  • Tell them what will happen after the process or procedure has been completed.

My Personal Commitment to the Standards of Behavior of Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge

I have received and read The Standards of Behavior for Carolinas HealthCare System - Blue Ridge. I understand that I am expected to uphold these standards and pledge to do so in the conduct of my responsibilities and in my daily interactions with patients, colleagues, physicians, volunteers, families and visitors.
Please Print Your Name_________________________________________
Please Sign Your Name_________________________________________