DTA Coaching Community – Interview with Colleen Panec


As you probably know by now (if you follow our blogs), on the first Monday of every month, DTA convenes a community of Care Team Coaches from across the country. The purpose of these calls is for coaches who all use DTA’s Coaching Reporting Tool to share notes and learn from one another on their coaching journeys. Our January call featured Colleen Panec, a care team coach and nurse at El Camino Health.

During our chat with Colleen, she shared insights into how her own coaching experience impacts how she coaches others, along with some of her most memorable coaching experiences. Here’s a look at what Colleen shared with the group.

DTA: Tell us a little about your background and how you became a Care Team Coach.

CP: I am an RN on 4A, a surgical unit at El Camino Health, and have worked a per diem status since 2004. I have been a bedside nurse since graduating from Fresno State University in 1981. Since that time, my heart has been with our patients and their experiences at my hospital being the best that they can be.

I was on a patient experience committee when I first heard about Care Coaching about 1 1/2 years ago. Someone approached me about becoming a Care Team Coach and at first, I was hesitant. I think once I heard more about it, I really did think it was something that management would do; a punitive type thing. Once I realized what Care Team Coaching really was, I thought I would give it a try. Now, as a coach, to be able to follow our wonderful staff and see the great things they do and to help improve our patients’ experiences, it is beyond rewarding to me. I look forward to Care Coaching between my scheduled shifts.

DTA: Thanks for being so candid about your hesitation! Tell us a little bit about how the training process helped you become one of our most active coaches.

CP: I knew I would be trained and would be coached myself as part of the DTA training process. Once I was coached, I really loved Care Team Coaching. During my own coaching experience, I learned so much about myself. I think that no matter how many years you’ve been a nurse, there’s always room for adding a little extra or trying something brand new to realize even just a bit of an improvement. I can’t say enough great things about the experience—even my family knows that. They know the days when I’m Care Team Coaching versus working a regular nursing shift. I love coaching just as much as I do the bedside nursing. I love it because I’m working with people in other areas and am able to see another department. It’s fun to realize that we all have a shared goal of providing great patient care and making each patient’s experience the very best.

DTA: That’s interesting to know that you love this work as much as the bedside nursing, which is amazing. I’m curious though, now that you’ve been a coach for the last year and a half, how has being a coach changed your practice as a nurse when you are working at the bedside?

CP: I would say, first of all, I learned some very important things when I was coached, and I now try to implement those into my everyday practice. One specific thing that comes to mind is thanking the patient. As nurses, we’re so often thanked, so I love to be able to thank that patient back and to let them know that we’re grateful that they chose El Camino Hospital and not another hospital. It’s not just the specific care practices, it’s how it trickles down and the meaning behind each of those practices. I feel like when I am coaching someone, I will refer sometimes to my own coaching experience. I share my experience and certain things that I had been coached on and how I implemented them into my own practice. We all can learn. I also let them know that I learn as I’m coaching them too. For example, if I see that they do a particular practice really well, I try to put into my role as a nurse. It kind of humanizes the experience, lets them know that again, this is nothing punitive. It is an experience that can only make you be a better caregiver.

DTA: During your time as a coach, what has been most memorable to you?

CP: First and foremost, I feel that I am a positive influence on the person I coach by providing them valuable feedback on their strengths. One of the most memorable was a very kind nurse who said ‘yes’ to being coached but with some hesitation as she truly believed that people in her department had been singled out as ‘needing’ this in a punitive way. But in the end, her coaching experience ended with hugs and thanks on both of our parts and a few goals that she would happily work on!

Thanks to Colleen and all participants of our monthly Coaching Community Calls! This format has been super helpful in collectively building the Coaching Community across the country. If you are interested in learning more about the DTA Coaching Reporting Tool (the use of which is common to all of the Coaches on these Community Calls), you’re in luck! Sign up to view a demo of DTA Healthcare Solutions’ Coaching Reporting Tool.


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Pamela Hessler

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