Kimberley Nichols, MD, headlines Gail Walling Yanney, MD, Lectureship

Mohanad Shukry, MD, PhD, Kimberley Nichols, MD and Sasha Shillcutt, MD

Mohanad Shukry, MD, PhD, Kimberley Nichols, MD and Sasha Shillcutt, MD

The UNMC Department of Anesthesiology hosted Kimberley Nichols, MD, at the second annual Gail Walling Yanney Lectureship on April 17. Dr. Nichols, associate professor of anesthesiology and senior associate dean at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, discussed ways to facilitate inclusive work cultures in her presentation titled “Building Work Communities Where People Can Thrive.”

The presentation drew from her experiences as a clinician and educator and discussed the importance of creating a sense of belonging in the workplace through developing a shared vocabulary, fostering belonging at every level and cultivating a culture of trust.

Sasha Shillcutt, MD, vice chair of strategy in the anesthesiology department, was awarded the Dr. Gail Walling Yanney Endowed Professorship in Anesthesiology in 2021 and has established the Dr. Gail Yanney Lectureship to honor the legacy of Dr. Walling Yanney, MD.

The focus of the lectureship series is faculty development, particularly developing women as leaders, and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

“Dr. Nichols is a nationally known leader in medical student education and her lecture inspired us to think beyond our own experiences and engage our colleagues in simple, yet powerful ways to ensure all voices are heard,” Dr. Shillcutt said.

During her presentation, Dr. Nichols highlighted the negative consequences of a lack of inclusive efforts in the workplace, including disengagement, and emphasized the importance of community and mentorship in overcoming challenges.

“We can make sure there are level playing fields in terms of career advancement and there are transparent processes around promotion and metrics of success,” Dr. Nichols said. “That can include things like structured mentoring programs, working together to support professional and personal growth and development.”

Dr. Nichols also shared how to foster an inclusive culture from a leadership perspective and said it’s as simple as learning the strengths of each team member. “Teams with inclusive leadership are actually more highly performing,” she said. “They’re more likely to behave collaboratively and make more high-quality decisions.”

After the presentation, Dr. Nichols led a discussion about how to build a sense of belonging and make people feel valued in a fatigued workforce, saying it could be as easy as acknowledging the hard work someone is doing. “I think it’s very easy to tell someone thank you so much for everything you’re doing,” she said. “I appreciate you – I see you.”

“Dr. Nichols exemplified how to be vulnerable by sharing her own inspiring personal and professional story. Additionally, she gave our audience concrete steps on how to improve our well-being culture at the organizational, leadership, and individual level,” said Mohanad Shukry, interim chair of the UNMC Department of Anesthesiology. “We appreciate her knowledge and experience in the field and thank her for visiting Omaha and UNMC.”