Marc Harrison: Hi, I’m Dr. Marc Harrison, CEO of Intermountain Healthcare. Today I'm with Mady Howard, a nurse in the intensive care unit at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George. Thanks for stepping away from the unit for a few minutes to talk to me today. First, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your job?

Mady Howard Yeah, of course. So my name is Mady Howard, and I've been with Intermountain for a year and a half now. I work as a nurse in the intensive care unit, and I absolutely love it there. I love that I have two patients, and so I really get to know them and their families, and it's just more of a holistic care, which I really love.

Marc Harrison: Okay. And so what is your other big passion besides being a fantastic ICU nurse?

Mady Howard So my other passion is, well, it used to be doing gymnastics. I was on the Southern Utah University gymnastics team, and I also did nursing school at the same time. But since then, I kind of transitioned and found a new passion in American Ninja Warrior, which has been a lot of fun.

Marc Harrison: Wow. So I heard that you're actually going to the finals. Is that true?

Mady Howard Yeah. So I finished in the top five women. I actually finished third place for the women in the city qualifiers. And so I get to compete in the city finals. And that is airing August 5.

Marc Harrison: And do you wear a crazy costume like some of the people do or do you wear a sort of regular athletic clothes?

Mady Howard No, I just wear regular athletic clothes.

Marc Harrison: What do you look forward to and what do you dread on American Ninja Warrior?

Mady Howard So I think I really look forward to just trying out the obstacles. I mean, you see it on TV and it looks easy, like anybody could do it. But then you get up there and actually are swinging through the air on the obstacles, and they're pretty challenging. And so I think that's the part I look forward to the most is just seeing how far I can get and how well I can do. One challenging part is just the amount of pressure that's on you. You get one chance every year to do it and if you fall, you're done. And so standing up there on the stage with all the lights, the people, the cameras, it can be very intimidating, but it's also a good challenge.

Marc Harrison: Excellent. So you're a long term competitor, whether it was in gymnastics in college, or now doing American Ninja Warrior. Talk a little bit about you as a competitor and then what does that intensity do for you at work? I assume it helps you in the ICU providing great care, but can you talk a little bit about that?

Mady Howard Yeah, of course. So working in the ICU, we definitely run into intense situations on a daily basis, but I think my background as a gymnast and now competing in American Ninja warrior, has helped me with that. I think one of the biggest things though is just preparation. So for American Ninja Warrior, I train many hours each week. I make sure I'm eating healthy foods that'll nourish my body and give me energy. And then also training mentally, as well. And so with the ICU, I think that it's really important to have that good foundational knowledge, but also important to have a good team and support system around me. And I think that that is what makes me feel like I can do my job really well. In the ICU, we have an amazing team of physicians, nurses, techs, and so I feel like I can support my patients well with the help of my team.

Marc Harrison: That's very interesting. So can you sort of distill down, what advice based on your experience as a competitor and as a nurse would you give to your fellow caregivers so that they can actually perform well under pressure too?

Mady Howard Yeah, so something that having American Ninja Warrior has given me is just another passion outside of work. And I honestly think that that has made me perform better as an ICU nurse. And so just the exercise, when you exercise, you release endorphins and it boosts your mood. And then I'm able to better care for my patients when I'm feeling good. And so I would just say take care of yourself, find those passions outside of work that you can put your energy into and that'll make you a better caregiver.

Marc Harrison: Excellent. I like this idea, you need to be a whole person. Right?

Mady Howard Right. Yeah.

Marc Harrison: So do you have any questions for me, Mady?

Mady Howard I did. So I know your background as a pediatric critical care physician and I was just kind of curious if you had any tips for me and other health care workers in critical care.

Marc Harrison: I don't know if tips are really the right word, but some guiding principles are, we're much better together than we are independently. And I often would say, as a great intensivist or a good intensivist, you can't function without great nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, social workers, unit secretaries, radiology consultants, et cetera, et cetera. It really is a total team sport, and that developing the trust and relationships with your teammates is really the key to actually getting great patient outcomes that individually, none of us are that important, but together, boy, are we unbelievable as a team.

Maybe the other thing, and you kind of touched on it, is the more you train, the more you practice, the better you get. I know it kind of goes without saying, but in those very stressful situations in the ICU, it's easy if you'd haven't trained hard or if you haven't done it very much to lose your peripheral vision and to get hyper focused on things that are actually not that important. And I think that by training hard, by practicing a lot, you're able to take a step back mentally and kind of keep an eye on the big picture for the patient. And I think they almost always do better when that happens. Does that make sense to you?

Mady Howard Yeah, I totally agree with that 100 percent. I think a lot of times when we're in those stressful situations, we just want to go, go, go and get everything done we can. But for me, I realize if I take a moment to just breathe and look at the bigger picture, like you were saying, everything goes a lot smoother.

Marc Harrison: Yeah, I remember we were intubating a patient with meningococcemia, and patient was really, really sick as they can be. And standing at the head of the bed and it was really tense cause the patient was very unstable and people looked anxious and I said, "Okay, let's just take a moment. We are a great team. We've done this a million times before. We all know exactly what to do. Just do it like we've always done it before." And boy, I think that kind of took a little bit of the pressure out of the room and the team functioned just absolutely beautifully that day. I was so proud of them. So do you have any other questions for me?

Mady Howard I did. So when I first joined Intermountain, I was really impressed with the LiVe Well program. As you know, I'm just very passionate about fitness and staying healthy and more prevention. You don't want it to get to the point where you have to come to the ICU and them take care of you. So I was just curious about what you see for that program in the future. I know that it's grown a lot recently and we have the new LiVe Well centers for the community, but where do you see that program going?

Marc Harrison: Right. It's going big places, Mady. Increasingly, we are going to be knitting together a lot of the things we do with and for our caregivers. And so we're re-imagining right now what benefits will look like to serve a population of caregivers who's much younger than I am, people who are more like you, so that people can have more choice in what their benefits look like. We'll be weaving in EAP for people, financial suggestions and advice to the people can be financially strong as well as the physical component. So please look for a very holistic approach to providing the absolute best experience that an Intermountain caregiver can have, recognizing again that particularly for, I would assume you're sort of a millennial, right, Mady?

Mady Howard Yeah, I would say that.

Marc Harrison: You're a solid millennial, that people of your generation can get what they need so they have really happy, healthy, successful careers. So look for more.

Mady Howard Thank you. Yeah, I really like that. So I'm excited about that.

Marc Harrison: And I really liked what you said. I mean, I'm really glad that you get it that in this era, we're going to work as hard as we possibly can to keep people at home and out of the hospital, but everybody eventually does get sick, and then we need people like you to work in the ICU to provide all the rest of us with the care that we need so we can get back to our homes as quickly and safely as possible. So I think it all fits together and hey, I just wanted to ask, how do you like the renovated campus down at Dixie? Is it gorgeous or what?

Mady Howard Yeah, it's really beautiful. I really enjoy it.

Marc Harrison: Yeah, I think that is quite a remarkable facility down there, but only as good as the people, right? And I think the folks who work at Dixie Regional Medical Center just is an incredible lot, so thank you for being part of the team.

Mady Howard Thank you. I appreciate that.

Marc Harrison: You bet.