Thank You for Your Sacrifice!

Getting called in at 3:00 AM for an emergency…working double shifts when the unit is short…verbal and physical abuse from ungrateful patients…pushing yourself further and further…and further yet. 

For what?

Outsiders would say that it’s for the money, but I find that amusing.  If someone is smart enough to go through all the years of school (and get into that particular school in the first place), they are smart enough to get a very well-paying job that doesn’t have people suing them, barking at them, waking them up, or exhausting them for their entire career.  On top of that, when you take out student loan interest, taxes, and malpractice insurance, the outside world looks even better.

That’s why I believe it is a sacrifice. 

But it’s not just physicians, nurses, or other clinical people.  It’s many others in our industry, as well. 

I know CFO’s and CEO’s working till 9pm regularly to make building projects happen.  I know surgeons that leave home for the OR around 4 AM many days, get home at 6 PM, and then get called back later that day when they’re on call.  Not just for a week, but for a career. 

I know nurses covering double the normal patient loan when the unit is short, and it’s short a lot.  I know specialists that skip sleep after a night of responding to emergencies, just to make sure they get their clinic visits fit in.  I know Agents at Clear Medical Agency who have worked for days (and sometimes weeks) on little to no sleep in order to support these same people during their tough times.

I’ve seen the leadership challenges.  I’ve seen the exhaustion. 

I’ve seen the sacrifice.

For many people around the world, this time of year (Passover and Easter) is about Sacrifice.  I think it’s a great time to thank you for your sacrifice to others.  Pass it on!

For those of you who have to work on Easter.  Thank you for yet another sacrifice.  For those who get the day off, enjoy a well deserved break!

Thank you!

 

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He enjoys teaching, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.

Looking into the Eyes of the Future (of Healthcare)

This weekend, my youngest child (a one year-old son) and I spent time inserting different shaped blocks into the correct spots on one of his toys.  Half of the time my son was looking at me with this look of wonder and amazement as I showed him how to do it.  Simple stuff to me, but a big deal to my son.   

You could see it in his eyes.    

My son

 

As part of the leadership team in a healthcare organization, I see that same look from new graduates or interns I get to work with.  They know that they don’t have the experience, but they are grateful when someone shows them how to do difficult things that seem so simple to the veterans they work with.  (Big thanks to the many great preceptors and trainers out there!)    

However, with all the stress and staffing concerns in our industry, it is no wonder that we sometimes forget to remember that these rookies in our department are the future of healthcare. 

We are truly looking into the eyes of the future.   

What’s scary is that future might be more difficult than we imagine.  I’m sure the saying “Nurses eat their young” is not unique only to nursing, and with the baby boomers set to retire and healthcare reform now the law of the land, we’re going to need these unexperienced colleagues of ours to be confident, encouraged, and focused on a long-term career caring for patients.     

Unfortunately, with the economy where it’s at, finding graduates working in a hospital or clinic is not as easy as it was just a couple years ago.  Even new RN’s are having a hard time finding work in some areas that just a couple years ago were offering signing bonuses.     

I know RN’s that are volunteering to gain experience and relationships while they search and medical coders traveling across the country for their first job.  It’s crazy for high demand positions like those two (and many others) to have that sort of challenge to find work!  Especially since things were so different when they started school.    

Right now I see about 50 requests a week from new graduates with healthcare degrees looking for a place that will give them their first chance, despite the curse of the proverbial “no experience”.  With Spring graduation season coming up soon, that situation isn’t looking any brighter…    

One brighter spot is that I do see some places that are still hiring graduates if they have good attitudes and are willing to work hard, but those places are hard to find.  This was one of many reasons that we formed the Clear Medical Network to connect healthcare professionals for career guidance from their peers, as well as the fun stuff too (annual cruise, nights out, etc.).  We’re hoping to connect our industry to help share ideas and opportunities to make a difference.    

It’s not just for graduates, but that’s one group that needs it most this time of year.    

If you know anyone looking to hire new grads, we will gladly share the resumes we’re getting (for free).  Just have the hiring leader join the network or email me at Aaron@ClearMedicalSolutions.com.   Also, if you get a chance, please let me know what you think about the idea and help remind me and others of the important role that our young colleagues will play in our future.     

Have a great week!     

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives at Clear Medical Solutions, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He enjoys teaching, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.

Graduation

With graduation just about 60 or so days away for seniors, I wanted to share some thoughts with any students with an eye towards working in healthcare leadership once they graduate. 

As part of the leadership team at Clear Medical Solutions, I get the opportunity to work with numerous interns that are in school.  Over the years, I’ve developed some thoughts on who will succeed under the pressure that our industry brings and who will not…and who will find a job or not. 

One of the key factors that I look for now when deciding who to mentor is their aversion to risk.  Yes, I believe that practitioners in a clinical setting should avoid risk when treating patients (unless in a research setting), however in the healthcare leadership setting, the same old strategies just aren’t going to work anymore.  Safe is now risky!

Leaders are going to have to try new things and chart new paths, and that will take a “risk neutral” approach versus “risk aversion” at all costs.

One of my favorite writers had this to say about some college students that he ran into, and I see the exact same thing from many students that I find as well:

Anyway, they asked for my advice in finding marketing jobs. When I shared my views (go to a small company, work for the CEO, get a job where you actually get to make mistakes and do something) one woman professed to agree with me, but then explained, “But those companies don’t interview on campus.”

Those companies don’t interview on campus. Hmmm. She has just spent $100,000 in cash and another $150,000 in opportunity cost to get an MBA, but…

The second occurred today at Yale. As I drove through the amazingly beautiful campus, I passed the center for Asian Studies. It reminded me of my days as an undergrad (at a lesser school, natch), browsing through the catalog, realizing I could learn whatever I wanted. That not only could I take classes but I could start a business, organize a protest movement, live in a garret off campus, whatever. It was a tremendous gift, this ability to choose.

Yet most of my classmates refused to choose. Instead, they treated college like an extension of high school. They took the most mainstream courses, did the minimum amount they needed to get an A, tried not to get into “trouble” with the professor or face the uncertainty of the unknowable. They were the ones who spent six hours a day in the library, reading their textbooks.

The best part of college is that you could become whatever you wanted to become, but most people just do what they think they must.

Is this a metaphor? Sure. But it’s a worthwhile one. You have more freedom at work than you think (hey, you’re reading this on company time!) but most people do nothing with that freedom but try to get an A.

Do you work with people who are still in high school? Job seekers only willing to interview with the folks who come on campus? Executives who are trying to make their boss happy above all else? It’s pretty clear that the thing that’s wrong with this system is high school, not the rest of the world.

Cut class. Take a seminar on french literature. Interview off campus. Safe is risky.”  (The Rest can be viewed at http://bit.ly/9uqTxQ)

I agree with Seth, and for all those students out there looking to get into healthcare leadership, you will need to take some risks.  Find a great leader, work an internship for free, build relationships, and think outside of the box…

The education system cannot completely prepare you for what you will need to be in our industry.  For that you will need mentors and experience, and you will probably only find that outside your comfort zone.

Think big.  Take calculated risks.  Be different!

About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives at Clear Medical Solutions, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He enjoys teaching, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.