Amy Gomez, Carla Werner, and Crissy Benze
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The Benefits of Community
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller, author and disability rights advocate
As we continue to navigate through our new normal, relying on each other is more important than ever. There is strength in numbers, a statement we strongly believe. In fact, one of BSM’s core values is collaboration.
When we partner with practices and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), they often ask for recommended resources. For this reason, we are providing some references and links throughout this blog post that we believe are helpful. Offering support is just one of the hallmarks of coming together as a community. Below we explore some other characteristics that define a community — whether virtual or in-person — that can benefit your staff, patients, and healthcare facility.
For more than two years, medical personnel have been inundated with ever-changing protocols, new regulatory requirements, increasing patient anxiety, and staffing deficiencies that have significantly affected day-to-day operations. Knowing others who have experienced the same creates a sense of fellowship and connection. It also provides an opportunity to commiserate, share ideas, and cultivate solutions for a better patient experience and work environment.
Helpful resources: If you are searching for a group of like-minded professionals, BSM has the Ophthalmology Practice Connection Facebook group and the ASC Nurse Managers and Administrators Facebook group. These groups were created to unite those in ophthalmic offices and ASCs — both in good and challenging times. Enjoy the camaraderie and conversations these virtual communities offer by joining today!
The past couple of years have tested us all. Whether changes to our daily lives, shifts in our support systems, or struggles with physical and mental health issues, the pandemic upended our sense of order and peace. For that reason, enhancing the comfort your facility provides to both patients and staff is a worthy goal.
In the practice setting, there are several ways to go about that. One is to encourage open communication, so both staff and patients know their input is welcomed and appreciated. Another option is to add amenities (e.g., a coffee station in the patient waiting room and staff break room) to make the office feel more like home.
Adding comfort in the surgery center environment is a little more challenging, but there are simple things you can do. For patients, ensure you are addressing them directly, calmly, and by name; provide a warm blanket in the preop area; supply easy snacks postoperatively; and maybe give a staff-signed thank you card upon discharge. For staff, directly communicate a job well done, involve them in quality improvement activities to foster a sense of ownership, bring in lunch once a month, or do a quarterly community-building happy hour.
There are many ways to comfort others; you just need to be creative! These tactics not only ensure your patients are comfortable and well cared for, but also your staff, providers, and yourself. That promotes a feeling of safety, happiness, and positivity. All of which translates to better decision-making, problem-solving, and productivity and, as such, better patient and workplace satisfaction.
Helpful resources: To create additional comfort among employees, there are team-building activities in BSM Connection for Ophthalmology’s Staff Training section. Physician’s Weekly also suggests the following activities to promote team building: two truths and a lie, board games, and an escape room. More suggestions are offered by bizfluent. Holding these types of activities promotes employee bonding, fosters rapport, and solidifies a positive work environment.
As society slowly emerges from the pandemic, businesses are facing a myriad of staffing issues. Many are operating on skeleton crews and finding it difficult to backfill positions. Meanwhile, ophthalmology practices with new recruits often find themselves with hires who have never worked in ophthalmology, let alone a medical practice. To help support these employees in their new careers, a training plan is essential.
The more supported employees feel — whether they are new or existing staff — the more satisfied and less stressed they are in their jobs. This makes for happier, more positive employees. In turn, they deliver better patient care and outcomes. All these factors add up to financial benefits for the business through reduced turnover, higher employee productivity, and more patient and physician referrals.
Helpful resources: BSM’s newest program, Certified Eyecare Professional (CEP), was developed specifically to help train and retain employees new to ophthalmology. This program consists of interactive micro-learning modules and supporting materials to cultivate their skills and comfort level in their new position. Also new is our Technician Recruitment Toolkit on BSM Connection to help practices recruit much needed technicians by providing everything from a job description sample to an onboarding checklist.
Once aboard, all staff can benefit from continuing education. Our BSM Connection eLearning Center offers more than 130 courses, with lessons for everyone in your practice from front office to clinical staff. In addition, Progressive Surgical Solutions eSupport offers courses tailored to ASC staff. Progressive also offers the ASC Nurse Leadership Conference to help assist and empower ASC clinical directors who are busy every day with competing priorities. Having resources to help support you with staff training — along with other operational duties — is invaluable.
During times of change, knowledge and its exchange is critical. It helps to inform decisions, discover solutions, and reinforce best practices. Since communities bring a diverse group of people together with a common interest, they can naturally serve as a source of knowledge.
Engaging in online forums is one way to tap into that knowledge. Members can ask questions, share challenges, and request advice. Other members can chime in, offering their feedback based on their experiences, viewpoints, and learnings. Seeking knowledge and welcoming it has many benefits. It can help your organization and staff to adapt, progress, and become more resilient. All good traits to have in our ever-evolving society and industry.
Helpful resources: Besides the Practice Connection and ASC Facebook groups mentioned earlier, Progressive eSupport hosts a forum where members can pose inquires and receive answers from our consultants and other ASC professionals across the country. Additional industry expertise is available on Progressive eSupport and BSM Connection through monthly webinars, compliance templates and tools, and eLearning courses. All resources are created to help keep you and your team informed.
With knowledge comes empowerment. When you empower those in your organization, you give them the opportunity to make decisions independently. This creates more loyal, satisfied employees who rely on leadership less for direction. Clinical employees often come to mind when thinking of empowered practice decision-makers, but non-clinical staff can fall into that category, too.
As the pandemic has proved, being on the frontlines in a medical practice or surgery center is a hard place to be. It’s those employees who guide the customer journey and often hear patient complaints and frustrations. When non-clinical staff have the confidence and means to deftly handle patient situations, they can make sure patients are comfortable and satisfied with their practice experience.
Helpful resources: BSM offers the Certified Patient Service Specialist (CPSS) program for non-technical employees, a certification pathway that aims to increase their ophthalmic knowledge. The CPSS program includes a variety of position-specific eLearning courses, as well as courses to increase front desk staff’s clinical knowledge to help with patient triaging.
Meanwhile, Progressive eSupport offers tools for surgery center managers to better navigate their daily responsibilities such as operations and pandemic-related issues (i.e., staffing turnover, COVID precautions, vaccine mandates, etc.). When leaders feel empowered to do their best, it has a positive effect on the rest of the team, as well as patients and the organization.
Being part of something larger than ourselves — like a community — offers many benefits. It creates camaraderie, offers comfort, provides support, enhances knowledge, and propels empowerment. These qualities ultimately boost the employee experience, patient care, and facility operations. Something you do not want to miss out on.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITIES: Register and learn more about our membership programs by visiting BSM Connection, eSupport, CEP, and CPSS. Also, feel free to share your own favorite go-to resources for your day-to-day work in the comment section below.