What are the biggest needs in entry level hiring in healthcare right now?
In addition to technical skills, we have three absolute imperatives: 1) personal agility and adaptiveness; 2) effective teaming; and 3) commitment to continual learning. Irrespective of role, successful entry-level individuals need to be agile and adaptive. Today’s healthcare worker must be willing and able to accept and use emerging technologies, meet rapidly changing requirements, refine current skills and continually learn new ones. Success in today’s healthcare environment requires individuals committed to continual improvement of both individual and organizational processes and practices. Those who have an interest in and a basic understanding of healthcare as an industry will likely fare better when faced with this continual change.
Healthcare professionals will also need to be able to rapidly form and re-form, high functioning teams. Atrius Health, like many leading healthcare organizations, has at its foundation the “Care Team.” Our physicians, nurses, medical assistants, medical secretary and all our ancillary services work together to provide reliably high quality care. In contrast to past industry models, the Care Team model requires each member to function at the “top of license or skill”. Each team member is integral to providing the reliable, high quality care our patients deserve.
When it works well, like a well-choreographed ballet, the Care Team members work collaboratively to meet patient needs accurately, efficiently and with the kindness and humanity each would want for their own family. This model requires leadership skills, development of teammate trust and reliable processes, so that each team member can effectively execute their part of the team’s work. Teamwork is not limited to the clinical teams. All functional areas need to work collaboratively, across departments to ensure reliable, efficient, cost-effective processes. Irrespective of role, familiarly with LEAN or similar approaches should be part of every healthcare curriculum.
What level of education, skills and background are really needed to prepare people to enter your workforce?
Current entry-level needs are familiar roles (e.g., RNs, Medical Secretaries, Certified Medical Assistants, Lab Associates, Specimen Processors, Radiology aides, Imaging Services Assistants, Coders, etc.). Today’s requirements include the role-specific education and certifications; i.e., our RN positions require BSN and experience in the specific specialty or transferable skill set; our MA’s/MS/s need a certification or diploma in the applying position or field and some experience over and above their externship; Pharmacy techs need to be Registered or Certified or both depending on position, etc. Candidates need a combination of both experience/education. The most attractive candidates are those who have experience in a medical office beyond a single externship, who have demonstrated the commitment and curiosity to explore new tools and who have the ability to demonstrate compassion in a wide array of situations.
What are some of the largest obstacles to growing your staff?
Seismic changes loom for healthcare delivery. Disruptive technologies, continuing regulatory and legislative uncertainty, unrelenting financial pressures and exponential growth in medical knowledge make the status quo untenable. How, where and when we deliver care will change rapidly. Going forward, our care delivery mechanisms and venues will change, driven by the patient’s preferences and evidence-based clinical practice. We need team members who are dedicated to quality, excited about finding and using new ways meet patients where they are, and who are enthusiastic team members, who thrive on collaboration to create an outstanding experience, every day, for every person they serve.
As an innovative organization, is Atrius Health looking for applicants to bring different types of skills?
As healthcare changes, future requirements of entry-level roles are likely to change – and new, not-yet-developed roles will emerge. That’s why it is so important for our staff to continually reach out for opportunities to learn. Even today, we look for applicants who have demonstrated knowledge of or at least familiarity with our electronic medical record, and how harnessing its power improves care and impacts our revenue.
Amidst all these changes, the ‘why’ remains constant. Those who are called to healthcare – whether as physician or accountant, medical assistant or administrative assistant, CEO or facilities attendant – are here for one reason only: to provide the highest quality, kind and compassionate care to patients and their families. Meeting the diverse preferences and complex needs of our patients require us to be increasingly flexible in how our care is accessed, how we communicate and how we interact with and treat the whole person. “Patient-centered,” “patient-driven” care is giving way to “patient as consumer and partner.” Agile, team-oriented professionals who are driven to continue learning out of a dedication to patients are the ideal candidates for navigating these changes.