Darcie Peacock, CEO at Solace Pediatric Healthcare, started her career as a treating occupational therapist. She spent years going from home to home, working with children with disabilities and their families. As clinicians so often do, her car was her office and she shouldered the weight of each families’ struggles every night after work.
Having experienced the frontline directly has profoundly influenced how Darcie leads Solace Pediatric Healthcare.
Darcie does not focus on what makes things easier operationally or on the leadership team running the business. Instead, she focuses keenly on how to better serve the clinical staff—they are doing the hard work of serving patients and their families.
She believes that by taking care of her highly skilled team and removing as many administrative burdens as possible, they will do exactly what drove them into this line of work.
Rethinking Leadership and Access
Darcie stands by the idea that no matter how large an organization gets, the team needs to have access to its leaders.
One way she makes her leaders available is by offering virtual coffee meetings 3x per month. Anyone in the organization can sign up, where they’ll receive a Starbucks gift card and 1 hour with Darcie and 7 other colleagues whom they likely have never met. The conversation starts casually—talking about their families, pets, and weekend plans. But Darcie is also known for puting people on the spot by asking, “If I made you CEO of Solace for one day, what is the first thing you would tackle?” She always gets incredible responses and takes the conversation back to the leadership team to think through issues.
Advancing the Next-Generation of Leaders
Darcie has implemented a leadership training program within Solace Pediatric Healthcare. There are various topics presented each week by a different leader in the company. Darcie also joins to discuss her views on leadership, answer questions, and connect with the team directly. While each session provides great ideas and feedback, just as important is visibility and access to the top leaders. This is invaluable for anyone looking to move into leadership themselves. In the first year since its inception, over 100 employees have completed the training and the waitlist goes well into 2023.
Addressing Barriers Unique to Women in Leadership
“I’ve noticed that women in leadership, myself included, tend to downplay our accomplishments. But for some men, they are quite good at it. It can be uncomfortable to boast about yourself and your team—but in the right environment, it’s critical,” Darcie explains. “This concept bleeds into the ‘Imposter Syndrome’ that women often feel. I certainly have my moments of experiencing Imposter Syndrome, and what helps me move into a place of confidence is to ask myself, ‘Who can do this better?’ And the answer always is, ‘No one can do it the way I can.’”
Providing a Differentiated Care Experience
On a global scale, Darcie is committed to changing the leadership narrative for companies in pediatric healthcare. “I want the focus to move from financial outcomes and instead to taking care of your clinicians. Only then will companies see the results come flooding in. Our healthcare workers are so passionate and are motivated by providing the best possible care for our patients. If we take care of them and remove barriers, they will do incredible things for our patients.”
Staffing is a huge challenge in the healthcare industry, with the norm seeing turnover rates at 40% or more. Darcie concedes that while it’s impossible to create an organization that is the right fit for every person, she explains that a leader can significantly move the needle by putting themselves in the clinicians’ shoes and working tirelessly to make their days easier.
Darice explains, “People talk about the high cost of turnover, but they rarely make an investment to address it. At Solace, we start and end with our employees’ experience. The proof is in the numbers: We consistently see over 98% employee satisfaction, 99% patient satisfaction, and less than 15% turnover.”
Solace Pediatric Healthcare is the leading provider of pediatric nursing, family caregiver, occupational, physical, speech and feeding therapy services. They specialize in providing the highest clinical care and personal service to families. Their pediatric clinical team meets with each family to create an individualized plan to ensure the best ongoing care for the child. A child’s one-on-one care is delivered in the home, clinic, or through a seamless interactive virtual telehealth experience based on the family’s preference. The organization’s pediatric RNs, parent CNAs, OTs, PTs, SLPs, and caregivers are committed to quality, compassionate care for all children and families they serve. An ACHC-accredited company, Solace continuously demonstrates its commitment to quality, positive patient outcomes, and safety.
“We continuously work to improve the quality of care, family experience, resources available and interactive communication. Through the investment in scalable and integrated technology of iPads, scheduling programs, apps, telehealth and texting platforms for Solace clinicians and families, we have improved efficiency and increased the overall quality of care for more children.”
For Solace, the future is exciting as they continue to expand its geographic footprint and its services. “We will continue to focus on doing things differently, providing exceptional customer experience for all of our customers, but keenly focused on our employees. We will work to find new and innovative ways of bringing care to our communities so that we can meet the growing demand for our services,” elucidates Darcie. “We want every child, regardless of geographic location, socio-economic status, scheduling availability — regardless of any variable, each child deserves the very best care. We want to be a part of providing that.”