Hawai'i-Pacific Chapter
A quarterly e-newsletter for the Hawai'i Pacific Chapter of ACHE Fall 2015 Newsletter
In This Issue
Message from your ACHE Regent, Fall 2015
Message from the Chapter President
Recent Chapter Events
Chapter Awards
News from the Education Committee
Membership: New Fellows, Members, and Recertified Fellows
Calendar of Events for Fall 2015
Education Calendar for Fall 2015
Fall 2015 Financial Report
National News - Fall 2015
Articles of Interest
The Failure Modes Effect Analysis Process in Healthcare
Back to Basics: Emphasizing Progressive Mobility in the Inpatient Setting
Semper Gumby: Leadership Lessons Learned Aboard the World’s Largest Floating Hospital
Career Development
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What educational opportunity interests you most as a health care leader?
Leadership Strategies
Healthcare Finance and Analysis
Strategic Planning
Diversity and Inclusion
Healthcare Quality Improvement
Government Policy


Jen Chahanovich, FACHE

Gidget Ruscetta, FACHE

Art Gladstone, FACHE

LT Joseph Fromknecht


Selma Yamamoto

Natalie Pagoria

Art Gladstone, FACHE

Micah Ewing

MAJ Charlotte Hildebrand, FACHE

Lt. John Piccone

Nick Hughey

Jennifer Dacumos

Stella Laroza


Darlena Chadwick, FACHE


Semper Gumby: Leadership Lessons Learned Aboard the World’s Largest Floating Hospital
Stefan Fedusiv, RN

Imagine running the world’s largest floating hospital, staffed with people who have never worked together, who do not know their way around the ship, and who are culturally unaware of the people and places they are about to visit. 

Now, imagine having them working together as a cohesive unit within about nine days. Each time the US Navy deploys the USNS Mercy, this is precisely what happens. I could not think of a leadership situation with more moving parts or more challenges. After touring the Mercy in July 2014, I was compelled to find a way to board the ship and learn what leadership skills are necessary to accomplish such a task. Persistence and tenacity finally paid off.

I am a graduate student at the University of Hawaii pursuing a Masters in Nursing with Executive Leadership focus/MBA dual degrees, and try to never let an opportunity pass me by. This summer, I had the opportunity to learn about leadership, logistics, and resource management while living aboard the Mercy during a portion of Pacific Partnership 2015. I attended top-level meetings which literally took place behind locked doors. I met with Captains and Commanders and Master Chiefs of the US and Australian militaries. I had private conversations with and received advice from two Australian parliamentarians and one Australian commodore. I observed how plans were devised, communicated, executed, and evaluated.

After reflecting on these discussions and observations, I concluded strong, effective leadership has four components, beginning with the creation of a vision. This is followed by the development of a detailed plan of how the vision will be achieved and always includes timely, frequent communication with appropriate personnel. The fourth and, in my opinion, the most important component is flexibility. For example, my personal leadership vision for this experience of a lifetime is to be known and respected as a leader who will take advantage of every opportunity to increase my capacity to better serve others. To achieve this goal, I will share core leadership lessons learned from one of the most unique and interesting venues imaginable, supported by personal experiences, in the form of a written article for the Hawaii/Pacific chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives. I will communicate with appropriate members to ensure the message is germane, useful, and timely. Moreover, I am prepared to revise, edit, or entirely rewrite the article to flex with any unforeseen circumstances.

The motto of the US Marine Corps is “semper fidelis”, a Latin phrase meaning “always faithful.” While aboard the Mercy, I frequently heard a variation, “semper gumby”, which means “always flexible.” As one might expect, situations can change suddenly and frequently when your hospital is afloat. When we arrived in Fiji, a cruise ship was in our “parking spot” so we had to wait until the following morning before we could dock. Another example was when changing weather conditions resulted in unexpected delays in transporting personnel from ship to shore because high winds prevented the use of our transport vessels. These delays affected site visits as well as event set-up, start, and end times.

I had the opportunity to test my theory on leadership strategy when I was honored with the responsibility of planning, executing, and supervising community health education events in Savusavu, Fiji and Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. In Savusavu, the venue was an open rugby field with a small grandstand so site layout was crucial for efficient patient flow. On opening day, the weather was a complicating factor because it was very windy and rainy. Tents had to be secured with rope and concrete weights. Despite this, some were still blown over. The rain collected in big pools on top of many tents, occasionally resulting in waterfall-type spills due to high winds. Many times, these waterfalls landed on the backs of unsuspecting health fair workers. This resulted in less than ideal patient interaction. For the following day, I decided to relocate in front of the grandstand. Although it did not rain, I did not plan for the mud and deep puddles which were everywhere. This adversity was overcome by the decision to cut down palm fronds and use them to create walkways so all attendees could visit each table with minimal fear of slipping in the mud or wading through pools of standing water.

The next education event took place in Arawa, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea approximately one week later. I used the travel time to reflect on lessons learned in Fiji to redesign my education event. I needed to overcome new adversities including: a new country with different cultural and health concerns needing to be addressed, a lack of internet access to perform adequate research, new education topics requiring creation of new displays, as well as the need to educate and motivate personnel who would be presenting at the upcoming event.
To address these issues, I organized a meeting with personnel scheduled to present in Arawa. I communicated my vision for the event, the theme of the event, the topics to be covered and the fact we were lacking display information for the new topics. I also presented a cultural and educational briefing regarding the people of Arawa who were likely to attend. Perhaps one of the most important changes I made was the requirement that each person was to be prepared to present on every topic. By communicating this information clearly and specifically, relationships were managed and behaviors were influenced because those present at the meeting were energized and excited about the challenges we were about to face and confident in the vision.

I capitalized on that excitement and energy by planning a working party that same evening for people to come and help design and create new displays. This shared decision-making step proved wildly successful as people arrived and began dividing themselves into groups and planned, designed, and constructed new displays and binders.

As a result, the community health education event in Arawa was a success. We saw more than 2,000 people during the five day event, significantly more than the number of people we educated in Savusavu. Moreover, because each person was able to present on every topic, we were able to successfully operate with only five people per day instead of the 14 people per day used in Savusavu.

In conclusion, I lived aboard the world’s largest floating hospital to learn what I expected to be a unique leadership skill set. Before embarking on my adventure, I was cautioned the skill set I would learn might only be applicable to the military and not necessarily translatable to non-government organizations. As it turns out, the skill set was neither unique nor organization-specific. After all, organizations are composed of people and strong, effective leadership is always necessary. Create a vision, design and communicate a detailed plan, and always be flexible. These leadership skills are equally important regardless whether you are in charge of a small department or the largest floating hospital in the world. 


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Save the Date

October Educational Conference:  October 7-8, 2015 

"Practical Leadership Strategies in an Age of Change, by Carson Dye.
Queen's Hospital - Queen's Conference Center 

(12) Face-to-Face Credits for only $500.00!
Respond to the flyer before it is too late!

AONE Conference:  November 5-6, 2015

"Leadership in Action", various national speakers.
Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Waikiki.

(8) Qualified Education Credits for ACHE members!
ACHE Members:  $450
AONE Members:  $395




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