I want to share with you my experience with UBTs. It started as another campaign and a slogan that meant little if anything – Unit Based Team or UBT. On the surface, the idea was rather simple – a group of coworkers coming up with an idea to improve something in their department.
In reality, the UBT process was transformational for the Renal Care Center (RCC) in more ways than I could imagine. We started first with something that was meaningful for the RCC employees and myself. We all wanted for our hemodialysis patients to feel less pain during lifesaving treatments.
After initial training and team building, we selected a name for our team: “We Care.” The process of UBT was structured the way it would flow naturally and use our combined experience, knowledge and expertise to succeed. And we did succeed! Our numerical data showed significant decrease in pain and improved patient satisfaction.
The RCC became a better team and a better place for patients as a result of our UBT. Eventually, we completed 4 progressively complex UBT projects together and were recognized by the Board of Supervisors. In our last UBT project, we organized staff from 5 different departments and a group of physicians in what we called a super UBT.
However important and noble goals we had, my take from the UBT, as a Nurse Manager, was significantly more multidimensional than just a process improvement framework, as there are a variety of meaningful benefits:
- UBTs build a sense of satisfaction of achievement… Something that was done that could not be achieved any other way.
- UBTs make me (as a manager) more humble, by giving the power of decision-making to the team, which actually empowers me, as well.
- UBTs help navigate through complex relationships.
- UBT makes it easier to guide the team – coaching, motivating and inspiring them.
- UBTs help find/achieve harmony within the team relationship.
- UBTs bring mutual respect and recognition for the team and for the department.
It is important to come together and build a UBT project. A manager needs to encourage participation in a UBT. One way is for a manager to approach employees and ask, “Do you want to join our team?” By doing so, a manager is making the UBT something significant, something important to be part of… A manager needs to foster the relationship after a UBT is built – encourage participation and make it precious. I compare the UBTs to a candle burning. It’s a light – you need to keep a safe environment for light to be on and share it.
Teams that have participated in a UBT know exactly what I am talking about. For those who are still thinking about it, I really recommend the UBT as a way to enhance your team engagement and to improve your work, together, as a team.
Leonid Buslovich, RN, CHN, BSN, MBA
Renal Care Center
Santa Clara Valley Medical