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So the next time you hand this task off to the human resources person to do, try jumping back in the saddle and taking the reins.
Putting It In View By Dianna E. Graves, COMT, BS Ed
This morning we had a new employee join our staff.
All eager to join the team, nerves running wild, eyes wide open to all the new changes that were going to be heading her way.
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I am sure to her the morning was an absolute blur with going over the employee handbook, filling in copious amounts of insurance paperwork and taking the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) test, the compliance test, and finally, getting the very first schedule of where she needs to be for the rest of the week.
A few years ago, I was visiting with some of my more seasoned manager-friends regarding the process of bringing on a new technician, and how it could be a morning buster for me. Even with help, it took me out of the clinic for at least two and a half hours.
One of my cohorts said this task was left up to the human resources person, and those that didn’t have one, left it to the “pseudo-HR person.”
I was jealous, and vowed silently to myself that we needed one of those people to handle all the chores that I ended up having to do. While we do have someone who fills in the insurance and retirement forms, as well as discusses the HIPAA and compliance tests, I still was going to lose time on the employee handbook: the “rules of the road” for all employees.
So today, as I picked up my employee handbook, I headed to the conference room to do yet another orientation!
Starting at page one, I said to the new hire: “Amanda will be in later and go over some paperwork with you, but you and I are going to spend some time going over the ‘rules of the road’ – what the expectations of the practice are, the expectations that we have of you, and also, what your expectations are of us.
I found that as I hit the topics, I added my usual sidebars that were not in the handbook. Some of those included:
· Behavior to follow, or not to follow, to stay out of trouble with fellow technicians
· Behavior to follow, or not to follow, to stay out of trouble with physicians
· Behavior to follow, or not to follow, to stay out of trouble with me
These were the “unwritten rules of the road” and they would not be found in the book.
For example, to stay out of another technician’s crosshairs, we discussed: “Can I talk to you kindly, gently, and professionally?”
I explained that while I certainly did not anticipate any problems, every once in a while a technician dust up could occur and that someone may decide that he/she is not happy with another technician’s behavior.
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A new policy was started when I began here. It said that technicians would address their own squabbles. They would go to the technician who was irritating them and say the above sentence. The recipient’s answer will always be: “Sure.”
This is the time to get it talked out and put the squabble to bed. If they cannot rectify this, behind closed doors and professionally, then I will help them get it straightened out. It works and the squabbles are far and few apart.
We discussed that harassment of any kind is not tolerated in the clinic – by anyone or to anyone.
I started this section with: “This is an easy one. There will be no harassment, whatsoever, either done to you, by you, or for you. If you ever feel anyone, technician or physician, patient, or any other department is harassing you – please talk with me. That means e-mail, phone calls, Facebook, innuendo, etc. “
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This is always a lead-in for the computer policy and how they have no rights of privacy to the computer. I always advise, “Please do not send what they may perceive as funny cartoons, political or religious messages, or disparaging e-mails regarding co-workers and/or physicians.” Then we discussed some examples of past offenses so there are no questions of what I am talking about.
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Next I discussed areas that cause the doctors to become irritated, the parking areas. These are areas in the clinic where people tend to mingle to show their recent weekend photos, discuss the cuteness factor of their kids and hang around while waiting for someone to take the chart that just got put on the desk announcing the arrival of the last patient of the day. This behavior, I advise, is equal to them going into the rest room and painting a big red bulls eye on their forehead! These areas near the physicians’ rooms are no-parking zones.
Another bolded area I discussed with the new employee is clinic confidentiality and what it really means. “What happens in the clinic stays in the clinic.” This includes patient information, staff information, and physician information.
We all have the right to privacy. Personal and public lives that get shared here in the clinic should not be passed around the neighborhood or at the local watering hole after a rough day.
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And lastly, I discussed how to avoid having a dust up with me.
My pet peeve is tardiness and/or absenteeism. Clinic starts at 8:30 a.m. That means you are in the room with your first patient and working with them at 8:30 a.m. Not racing in the door at 8:27 AM, signing in, taking off your coat, going for coffee, checking in with everyone and then seeing your first patient at 8:43 a.m.
I discussed the theory of teamwork and the employee’s responsibility to the clinic and to each other as coworkers here. Yes, they have a responsibility to us as well.
I always make sure we have a prolonged discussion regarding the introductory period and that while it is six months in duration, both they, and I, will know well before that time whether things are working out.
I will do everything I can to help them become an excellent technician, but that they have a strong responsibility to that as well – and how if I were to have to let them go, it should never be a surprise to them. They will know well before that things are not working out.
When I was done with the orientation, and the other person stepped in to do the paper work, I walked to my office and realized how very important this time actually had been.
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It gave me the time at the beginning of their career here, and our career with them, to ensure that I had set the tone for my expectations as well as the clinic’s expectations.
In all the years I have done this, I had never looked at it this way. I realized that I would not want to delineate this to any other spokesperson. It was that one time to ensure that the seed had been planted. There were questions and clarifications that occurred during this time, but I was positive, and I think they were too, that these were the rules of the road that needed to be followed.
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So the next time you hand this task off to the human resources person to do, try jumping back in the saddle and taking the reins. It will give you valuable time with new employees to ensure that they know you mean what you say regarding the clinic expectations, and you have the handbook to back it up.