Patricia has a BSChE. She's an experienced registered nurse who has worked in various acute care areas as well as in legal nurse consulting.
What Does HRM Do?
''Human resources are like natural resources; they're often buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they're not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves.'' This is a quote by Ken Robinson, a British author, educator, and creativity expert.
Here is another by Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha, Nigerian author, educator, and entrepreneur: ''Some people today are wandering generalities instead of meaningful specifics because they have failed to discover and mine the wealth of potentials in them.''
These quotes characterize the role of human resource management, or HRM, in the healthcare industry, one of the world's largest employers. Managing the flow of the healthcare labor force is a tall order that requires creativity, knowledge, insight, and most of all, teamwork.
HRM does a lot more in healthcare than just mail out the open enrollment benefit packets. Many of us may think of them only in that kind of limited role, but the field is much bigger than that. HRM is involved in hiring and firing employees and settling disputes between employees, labor, and management. It's also involved in staff development and education as well as legal matters concerning the facility and any staff hired from overseas.
Hiring and Firing
Let's start with hiring and firing in a healthcare facility. This must be done according to legal guidelines and with the well-being and growth of the facility in mind. Hiring must also be done in a timely fashion to prevent the current employees from being overwhelmed by staffing shortages.
Finding the Right Staff
To find staff who will personify the values and goals of the facility, the HR department must conduct good interviews. These interviews must include an accurate job description for the prospective employee so that he or she does not accept the job with false expectations. The interviewer, besides getting information about the employee's education and background, should give him or her some idea of the work culture as well as the benefits offered, the opportunities available for advancement and development, and how the facility management will help the employee deal with the stress inherent in a healthcare environment. It may be a good idea to let the prospective employee walk around on a real unit and meet some of the staff.
Termination of Staff
HRM is also an important player in the termination of staff when this becomes necessary. In general, if there's a problem with an employee, measures for corrective action are taken before there is a firing. However, some infringements may result in immediate termination, such as harassment of one employee by another. If the staff belongs to a union, the contract rules must be followed. In any case, HRM must be aware of and abide by all of the legal aspects of a termination.
Keeping the Customers Satisfied
HRM plays an important role in ensuring that the patients are kept satisfied. This affects the facility's financial health as well as its profile in the community.
An important indicator of a health care facility's competitiveness is its HCAHPs, or Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, scores. These scores are generated from surveys sent out to patients after discharge. The surveys ask about how well the staff communicated with the patients about their condition and treatment. They also ask about the hospital environment itself. The HRM department helps the facility to get better HCAHPs scores by training its employees in the delivery of good customer service. Often, it will host programs like the Service Excellence programs, which have become popular in hospitals.
Staying Ahead of Legal Issues
The legal aspects of running a healthcare facility are complex and dynamic. Many facilities desire accreditation by agencies such as the Joint Commission as a measure of the quality of care they provide. To do so, they must meet the standards of such organizations and pass their inspections. There are many laws that must also be followed in order to obtain financial compensation from government organizations like Medicare. The HRM department must know these laws, stay updated with changes in them, and must make sure that staff members follow these laws. Otherwise, the facility could lose its license as well as its monetary compensation.
Labor unions have become more popular in healthcare environments along with the increase in corporate management of these facilities. Restructurings and cost-cutting measures have created hardships for staff members, contributing to their desire to organize and advocate for themselves. Union membership involves another set of legal challenges. The facility management must deal with the NLRB, or National Labor Relations Board, who has the authority to fine facilities for violations of union contracts. The HRM department and the hospital management must work with the NLRB in order to ensure that the union contract is not being violated.
Staff Development and Motivation
It's important for healthcare facilities to give their employees regular feedback on their performance. This ensures that patients receive quality care, and it also helps staff members understand what is expected of them. HRM can help by developing an employee evaluation process that is comprehensive, meaningful, and fair. If done in a constructive and supportive way, this helps employees grow and makes their work more rewarding. It motivates staff to do a better job and promotes a sense of pride and belonging.
To sum up, human resources management, or HRM, has a huge role in healthcare. HRM is responsible for much of the hiring and firing of staff members as well as for their development and training. Doing this effectively ensures that the facility's patients will receive safe, quality care.
The legal aspects of running a healthcare facility are complex. HRM must stay up-to-date with all laws pertinent to running a facility in order to participate in government programs like Medicare or accreditation programs like the Joint Commission. If there is a labor union involved, HRM must also deal with the NLRB, or National Labor Relations Board.
HRM must help healthcare facility managers to give employees meaningful feedback on their performance by making expectations clear. This increases retention of staff and makes the job more rewarding.
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