Gardner-Webb Alumnus Works to Improve Care for Patients with Heart Rhythm Disorders

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Greg Shelton ’95, ’00 Helps Develop Training That Updates Staff on new Technologies   

Photo courtesy of Shawn Rocco / Duke Health News and Communications

As a healthcare manager, Gardner-Webb University alumnus Greg Shelton ’95, ’00 constantly looks for efficient ways to train hospital staff on new technologies. “Working in cardiology is exciting and challenging because of the rapidly-evolving technology,” Shelton explained. “It’s exciting for the options we can offer patients, but it’s challenging to recruit and retain staff and keep current staff comfortable in their ongoing training. It’s important to hire the best, but equally important to give them the tools needed to succeed.”

Shelton is administrative director for Duke Heart Center at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C. Recently, Duke physicians and staff partnered with Springboard Healthcare to develop electronic training sessions in electrophysiology, the branch of cardiology that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders. The interactive training also prepares staff for national examinations. In addition, over 70 online modules were developed to provide the same information with Continuing Education Credits. “Through the collaboration of this project and the delivered results, we now have the best employee morale in our history,” Shelton affirmed. “Employee turnover is very low and our physicians believe this to be our greatest team.” Because of Duke’s success, other hospitals are interested in the training.

Shelton began his career as a respiratory therapist at Wake Forest Baptist Health (WFBH) in Winston-Salem, N.C. He entered the field to help people, but decided to earn his bachelor’s degree in healthcare management so that he could serve both patients and healthcare providers. The evening classes offered through Gardner-Webb’s Degree Completion Program suited his schedule, and GWU had a good reputation. “Some of my professors were healthcare executives at WFBH and they had real-life experience within the areas they taught,” Shelton related. “The faculty truly valued the success of their students and treated people in a unique way. Within a classroom environment, I was able to see how much more effective leaders can be when they value the people they are responsible for. I have worked hard over the years to develop this leadership approach, and I have found it to be very sustainable and fulfilling.”

Because of his positive experience, Shelton decided to pursue his Master of Business Administration at Gardner-Webb. He learned useful and relevant information, and has never forgotten how GWU Professor Dr. Glenn Bottoms demonstrated a valuable lesson in management. Bottoms divided the class into teams to work on a project and appointed team leaders. The students noticed that the leader in each group was not the strongest student. “His response was followed by the intent to teach everyone to work in diverse groups towards a common goal to achieve great outcomes,” Shelton reflected. “I have found this one exercise to be one of the most meaningful things I took away from my time with Gardner-Webb. I have learned in my career that everyone brings strengths and weaknesses to the team and at times, you will be the one carrying the team, but other times you are the one being carried. Collaboration, diversity and valuing other ideas makes us all achieve greater things.”