Marketing & Media Relations
Brady Butler, Director
9000 Babcock Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

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Pittsburgh, Jan. 16, 2009 — The nation watched with great interest as the “big three” U.S. automakers pleaded their case in Washington, D.C., for a bailout that could help them survive the current economic crisis. Some economists have been quoted as saying these U.S. car companies would be weathering the economy much better if they had taken a page from Japanese auto giant Toyota and employed some of its well-known management principles to their businesses. It has worked for other corporations and the health care industry. Now, its guidelines are being applied to schools of nursing.

In December, La Roche College alumnae Jennifer Watson, R.N., B.S.N., returned to campus to talk with nursing professionals and directors of area nursing schools about how the Toyota Production System (TPS) concepts can be applied to their daily activities as they work with students. Watson, administrator of the Highland Center skilled nursing facility in Brackenridge, Pa., part of the Genesis ElderCare® Network, said she became familiar with TPS some time ago and it changed her outlook regarding the operations end of all business she does, especially that involving people.

“I wanted to familiarize participants with how we can apply concepts of TPS to schools of nursing, because there are more parallels than one might realize,” Watson said. “The crux of all that we encounter is based on the relationships that we build or destroy along the way. In my discussion with the directors of the nursing schools, we focused on ways of building those relationships and then creating positive results.”

The Cranberry Township, Pa., resident said that although the Toyota management style is not new, it’s always nice to provide a refresher of the information, reminding class participants that people in the supply chain are paramount to success. When dealing with students in nursing education, she said, program directors must remember that by treating students well and focusing on creating a quality end product – an excellent nurse – schools will be successful.

“When you produce excellent products, the profits follow – that’s what Toyota learned and that’s what I hope to help others learn, no matter what business they’re in,” Watson said. “We must remember to develop, inspire and engage people. If we do that, we’ll be successful as we strive to meet challenges.”

Watson has spent the last 10 years as a professional in the senior living industry. She is completing her master’s degree in nursing at La Roche College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, National Association of Directors of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society and the American Nurses Association.

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