Preceptors ease new hires’ anxiety
At Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia, SC, patient access managers chose one or two employees on each shift to serve as preceptors for new hires.
"The preceptor program has been our most successful training method. It helps to ease the anxiety and fear of beginning a new position," reports Ebony Seymour, CHAM, patient access manager for admissions and registration.
The selected employees complete classes in adult learning, customer service, the revenue cycle, and financial counseling. The classes are offered at no cost as part of Palmetto Health’s continuing education offered to all employees, but they are mandatory for preceptors.
The revenue cycle class is taught by the hospital’s patient access director, and the financial counseling class is taught by the team leader of financial counseling. "We allow each member of management to teach the class in which they have the most expertise," says Seymour. "The classes are usually one or two hours in the classroom. We are in the process of converting some classes to online sessions."
Once the new employees complete their formal training with the education and training specialist, they are assigned to work with their preceptor for up to five weeks, depending on the area and level of complexity. "The preceptor is there to immediately answer any questions," says Seymour. "It helps new employees feel welcome in the department. It creates an instant bond between the two individuals."
Monek Lincoln, one of the department’s preceptors, says that new hires typically ask these questions:
• "How long will it take for me to understand all of the steps to the process and be efficient with the system?"
Lincoln answers, "It seems overwhelming, but ask questions immediately if you don’t understand. With diligence and patience, you will persevere. I’ll make sure of it by being readily available to assist you."
• "Are certain days busier than others?"
Lincoln informs them, "Palmetto Health Richland is a Level 1 Trauma Center. There isn’t a specific day in which we are busiest, but we can expect Mondays to be busy. Every day is a busy day. Seasonal illnesses such as flu can account for an increase in patient flow."
Lincoln greatly enjoys watching each trainee grow into the role. "I have trained new hires who didn’t think they would make it past the first day," she says. "To see them successfully become a part of the registration team is rewarding." (See related stories on how one patient access department uses "training buddies," below, and what new hires need help with the most, p. 56.)
- Michael Hester, Vice President, Revenue Cycle, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH. Phone: (614) 722-2085. Email: email@example.com.
- Sherri E. Kissinger, CHAM, Manager of Patient Access, Cincinnati (OH) Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Phone: (513) 636-6146. Email: Sherri.Kissinger@cchmc.org.
- Ebony Seymour, CHAM, Patient Access Manager, Admissions & Registration, Palmetto Health Richland, Columbia, SC. Phone: (803) 434-2244. Fax: (803) 434-7092. E-mail: Ebony.Seymour@PalmettoHealth.org.