Robert Stephenson

Putting care into the actual running of a care provider, Part 4

CUN – An organisation imbued with a culture of excellence and compassion
In my experiences with numerous healthcare organisations, I have never encountered one remotely as impressive as the Clínica Universidad de Navarra (“CUN”), the teaching hospital of the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. Similar to Morriss House, it is a centre of healthcare excellence which largely goes unnoticed, at least in the English language world. In its over 50 years of operations, CUN has honed a culture that is imbued with compassion for everyone (patients and staff alike), an incredible dedication to excellence, and humble and able management – it is something you feel almost immediately when you walk into the hospital.

I first encountered CUN as a graduate student at the Universidad de Navarra in 2006. As a visitor, I was awed by CUN’s cleanliness and the serenity that its interiors exhume. The staff generally exhibited a joy that one rarely finds to be so common place in a large organisation.

When I later became a healthcare analyst, I became more aware of what a world class healthcare organisation CUN is. I learned how at CUN, delivering personalised care with dignity and striving for excellence throughout the organisation is fundamental. This is what drives the organisation to, along with providing world class frontline patient care, provide impeccable cleaning of its facilities and incredibly delicious food (how often have we complained about hospital food!). It also has a unique innovation, whereby a person is assigned to a patient/patient’s family to personally facilitate their stay at the hospital to ensure the stay is smooth and very importantly, the patient has stability of relationship even if s/he is transferred to different departments.

At the helm of this organisation is a management team which strives to manage with humility and compassion. In 2012, I had the great privilege to meet the managing director of CUN, a brilliant but humble man – the type of manager I have come to learn are commonly behind excellent health and social care organisations.

As I write today, the CUN remains the most impressive healthcare organisation I have ever encountered with respect to delivering excellent care with compassion. I was therefore not surprised in early 2012 when I learned that CUN was named the best private hospital in Spain by Spanish specialist physicians. It is my hope that CUN becomes more well known in the English-speaking world as I have little doubt that if it did, it would quickly stand alongside the likes of the Mayo Clinic as a model healthcare organisation hospitals around the world strive to learn from in delivering world class healthcare with compassion.

Link to Part 3 of the article series.
Link to Part 5 of the article series.

CUN 50th anniversary site (CUN), available online.
The University Hospital of Navarra is the highest rated Spanish private hospital by doctors, according to the overall ranking of the OCU [ES]: 19 April 2012. (Clínica Universidad de Navarra, 2012). Available online.

Robert Stephenson-Padron is Penrose Care’s managing director. Prior to founding Penrose Care in 2012 with Dr. Matthew Knight, Mr. Stephenson-Padron was a healthcare equity research analyst at Merrill Lynch in London. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch in in 2010, Mr. Stephenson-Padron was a healthcare equity research analyst at Barclays Capital, also based in London. From 2003-2008, Mr. Stephenson-Padron was a research assistant to epidemiologist Prof. Alison Galvani of Yale University.

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