This is the second in a series of articles exploring ideas and processes behind managing a healthcare organization focused on maximizing both patient care and profit.
How many of us know exactly what our fulfilling career should look like, but get stuck trying to figure out what steps to take on our path?
Most of us understand the value of mentorship, but aren’t able to find mentors that can help us build the tools and skills we need to build our own path.
So what should mentorship look like?
Good mentorship shows each mentee how to take control of their path in life – by allowing them the opportunity to demonstrate and hone their unique competencies in an environment that minimizes the costs of learning.
Accelacare’s mentorship program is built to develop and coordinate the most important resource in healthcare – each individual employee. Mentorship at Accelacare is premised on the fact that any problem, no matter how big or small, can only be solved when each affected person’s unique perspective is expressed and accounted for in the solution.
In practice, this means that Accelcare gives each employee the steps to accomplish two goals:
- How to understand the characteristics that make them unique, and give them the confidence to express their ideas
- How to understand the characteristics that make each person they interact with unique and create space for others to confidently express their ideas
Here’s what our process looks like for clinicians:
- All of Accelacare’s clinicians pursue clinic-funded continuing education (residencies, fellowships, etc) to support specialization in a specific area of their interest. Accelacare’s clinical directors are required to be, at minimum, Fellows of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy so that they can bring the highest quality thought processes and information to bear when mentoring.
- Accelacare’s interview process is where mentorship begins. The clinic has specifically designed each question over 3 rounds of interviews to help the clinic understand the candidate’s unique characteristics and goals in the context of the business. Interviews are performed by the office manager and the clinical director, who are responsible for overseeing the clinic’s mentorship processes.
- Each new clinician is given responsibility for patient care within their first week – because the best way to learn is to apply knowledge in hands-on settings – and supported with the following processes and structures
- Each new clinician shadows the clinic director for 2 days to learn basics of Accelacare’s approach to patient care and navigation through Accelacare’s EMR, Systems4PT
- Clinicians participate in weekly 1:1 mentorship time with the clinic director, where they will review coding and documentation guidelines, patient cases, and refine the clinician’s thought process. This time is blocked off during treatment hours, and clinicians can elect to schedule patients during this time so that they can co-treat with the clinical director.
- These meetings continue throughout the clinician’s employment at Accelacare
- Clinicians participate in weekly group mentorship time with the entire clinical team, so that the whole team benefits from each clinician pursuing education and experience in their specific areas of interest. This time is also blocked off during treatment hours.
- Within 6-12 months of joining Accelacare, each clinician will become a Clinical Instructor for DPT students from Accelacare’s clinical education partners. This process allows clinicians to learn from and share knowledge with DPT students, and teaches each clinician how to mentor – a skill that is critical in patient care.
- Accelacare supports each of its mentors with a written mentorship guide and by fully-funding each new clinician’s APTA Clinical Instructor coursework.
These processes form the foundation of a mentorship program that won Creighton University’s 2021 Clinical Site of Excellence award, and has led to Accelacare being a preferred mentorship site for physical therapy Fellows training with the Manual Therapy Institute.
Most importantly, however, these processes create a collaborative environment in which each employee can focus on the thing they care about most – keeping each patient as healthy as possible.
The next article will examine how Accelacare has incorporated the idea of mentorship into each patient interaction in order to deliver the information that patients need to actively participate in their health and their lives.