The 2018 theme for National Nurses Week (May 6-12) was “Nurses Inspire, Innovate, Influence.” Lake Regional Health System chose three nurses who exemplify these values, and the Lake Sun is profiling each of them in this Salute to Nurses series.

The 2018 theme for National Nurses Week (May 6-12) was “Nurses Inspire, Innovate, Influence.” Lake Regional Health System chose three nurses who exemplify these values, and the Lake Sun is profiling each of them in this Salute to Nurses series.

On Janny Drover’s desk is a black 5-by-7 frame with a picture of an ocean wave and this caption: “If you’re not riding the wave of change, you’ll find yourself beneath it.”

The secret, Drover said, is not to be afraid of or resistant to change. Instead, expect good to come from it.

“Being a part of change, small and large, during the past 40 years has been very fulfilling,” she said.

Drover has been a nurse for 43 years and has spent 40 of those years at Lake Regional — the entire time the hospital has been open. For the last 19 years, she has served as manager of the busy and growing Outpatient Services Department. During National Nurses Week, May 6-12, Lake Regional recognized Drover for being a nurse of innovation.

“Janny is always looking for creative ways to improve the patient experience, as well as the experiences of her staff,” said Melissa Hunter, Lake Regional’s senior vice president of Clinical Services and chief nursing officer. “She encourages her staff to offer ideas for improvements, and the results show in Outpatient’s exceptional patient satisfaction scores. Nurses and managers throughout the health system admire Janny and look to her as a model innovator.”

Making Things Better Always

Usually, when people think of innovation, they think of doing something new. But that’s not exactly Drover’s take.

“Innovation is not just adding new things but also doing routine things in a new way,” she explained. “While many things have changed in the last 40 years, there are some things that will never change. For example, we still need to get patients up to walk after a procedure. Innovation would mean making the most of the one-on-one time this routine task affords. Is this a good time to go over some home care instructions and tips with patients? With families? You’ve always got to be thinking, ‘How can we make things, even the routine tasks, better?’”

To help her staff innovate, Drover uses a concept she learned back in nursing school. She often tells them: “Put your spouse, your child or your best friend in that bed, and ask yourself, ‘How would he or she want to be cared for?’ ”

“That’s what really gets the staff to come up with good ideas,” she said. “It’s all about being compassionate and empathetic to the core.”

A Creative Leader

Drover also has a reputation for keeping her staff motivated.

“As a manager, Janny works to improve patient satisfaction through staff satisfaction,” said Kelly Phillips, R.N., unit lead. “She finds creative ways to encourage the Outpatient staff and to acknowledge the staff for work very well done. She provides customized rewards and recognitions, staff meeting celebrations and themed appreciation days. She also provides individual recognition, sometimes privately and sometimes in front of co-workers.”

Celebrating successes, even the smallest of our successes, creates a culture of positivity, Drover said, and helps people embrace change.

Also important, she said, is giving the staff a chance to test new ideas.

“If I came in and said, ‘Effective tomorrow, everybody must wear purple nail polish,’ I’d get push back and my staff would be unhappy,” she said. “If instead I announced: ‘I want to try something. Everybody wear purple nail polish next week, and then we’ll meet and discuss how it went’ — People will trial almost anything, if they know it won’t be forced on them, if in a week or so, you’ll talk as a team about how the idea worked: Did it make a patient happy? Did it benefit the patient or nursing staff?”

The Time is Now

Drover’s commitment to the lake’s hospital is rooted in strong ties to the community. Her family has lived in the area for seven generations, and her parents, Anna May and Buford Foster, owned and operated six popular local businesses.

Drover has been married to her husband, Gary, for 42 years. They have three children and five grandchildren. Her hobbies include all things lake-and –outdoors related, antiquing, traveling, and enjoying, with friends and family, lake area events, establishments and restaurants.

“My passions are our kids, grandchildren, our pets, the lake and our lake home — named Nanakuk by our grandchildren — and coffee,” she said.

Earlier this month, Drover and her staff celebrated the completion of a total renovation of Outpatient Services. And even though she had not been considering retirement, something about seeing that project come to a successful end readied her for her own new beginning. She plans to retire this fall.

“It felt like the right time to hand off this wonderful, new department,” she said. “My husband and I are both very healthy, and we are both ready. I didn’t want to wait too long.” In other words, she’s still riding that wave.