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Get your new hires 'hooked' on access
At first glance, an applicant may look at an open access position as a "get their foot in the door" opportunity. "They feel should a position become available within their educational background, that they will have 'first picks' as an internal employee," says Sandra Garr, admissions supervisor at University of Louisville (KY) Hospital.
However, once that person is actually working in access, it may become apparent that he or she has the unique skills and experience for the job. "They see how their peers enjoy what they do and see their great passion in how they handle our patients, with a true desire to assist. They often find themselves taking on that character and finding a personal fulfillment," says Garr. "This is where I come in."
Garr typically begins this conversation by commenting that the staff person appears to be "a natural" and doesn't sound scripted when communicating with patients. She tells him or her, "This job is not for everyone. You have to be a special person. You seem to have the personal connection, which is what is required to be successful here."
Managers are very specific regarding what's required to complete an accurate registration and why this is necessary. "Most often they don't realize the needs of a hospital facility to maintain certain accreditations and be compliant every time with every patient," says Garr. "Most gain respect for the position quickly, while others you have to show them and reiterate the importance until they clearly understand their role."
Your new hires may respond that they are unsure whether they'll stay in the department, due to the low pay. Or, they may tell you they're waiting for a particular position to open up within the medical field. "They may also express the desire they have to stay on board because of the fulfillment. Often, they are already 'hooked' with the love of the job, not to mention the great experience they are obtaining in the medical field dealing with insurance and medical terminology," says Garr.
Next, Garr reviews the different opportunities that exist in patient access. She covers the beginning stages of an Admission Specialist I, who strictly registers patients; the Admission Specialist II, who both registers and pre-registers patient; and the Admission Specialist III, who handles registration and insurance follow-up in the emergency department. She states that the salaries offered are very competitive.
New hires also are told personal stories by managers about what they did at the hospital before coming to the department and that they have found access to be more fulfilling than some of their previous positions. "Then, you must honestly express their strong ability to be successful not just here in patient access but anywhere in the hospital, because of their character qualities that can't be taught," says Garr. She often tells staff, "Don't aim for success if you want it. Just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally."