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    Ryan Reaves
    Ryan Reaves

    This article is for:  Healthcare practice managers, administrators and executives looking to improve their leadership development strategies and address staffing challenges.

    Key concepts: Leadership development | Internship programs | Mentorship in healthcare | Recruitment challenges

    Key takeaway: Implementing a well-structured internship program can simultaneously address staffing needs, provide valuable experience to students and help develop future healthcare leaders.

    In this episode of MGMA’s Member Spotlight podcast, host Daniel Williams welcomes Kendra Yahns, Executive Director of Perkins Spine and Sports Medicine. Yahns shares her journey in healthcare leadership, discusses the benefits of internship programs in private practices and emphasizes the importance of leadership training in healthcare management.

    Leadership and Internships

    Yahns’s healthcare journey began in animal health before transitioning to human healthcare leadership. She emphasizes the value of starting on the frontlines. “It really helps you develop an understanding of what's needed from leadership, who's involved, how they're involved and what the patient flow looks like," she says. This experience has proven invaluable in her current role as Executive Director of a small private practice specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

    One of the key initiatives Yahns has implemented is an internship program to address the gap between academic education and practical skills in healthcare management. "We've been able to stay very lean by bringing in these interns and mutually teaching them, giving them skills and opportunity to learn and grow and be ready for a career, and also take some bandwidth off staff just during the day-to-day tediousness," Yahns explains. This program not only benefits the practice by saving on full-time equivalents (FTEs) but also provides valuable experience to students entering the healthcare field.

    Yahns discusses the challenges of finding qualified candidates for entry-level positions in healthcare management. She notes, "I continue to hear through my associations and managers meetings that I go to that they just can't find people ... There's always a demand, there's always a shortage of workers. But at the same time, we're not hiring for opportunity. We're hiring for skills, which an academic degree doesn't [always provide]." To address this issue, Yahns's internship program focuses on providing practical skills and experience that students can use to secure jobs after graduation.

    Yahns also touches on the importance of leadership training in healthcare, as she is developing a "leadership playbook" to help aspiring leaders navigate the complexities of healthcare management. She explains, "I think it would have been helpful for me to have some very basic philosophies of leadership. What's the difference between managing versus leading? How do I learn about both and each individually and how to incorporate them together?" This playbook aims to provide practical guidance on topics such as communication, work-life balance, and human resources best practices specific to healthcare leadership.

    Actionable Tips:

    • Consider implementing an internship program in your practice to provide valuable experience to students while addressing staffing needs.
    • Utilize platforms like Handshake to connect with potential interns from local universities.
    • Develop a leadership training program or playbook tailored to healthcare management to support emerging leaders in your organization.
    • Focus on providing practical skills and experiences that bridge the gap between academic education and job requirements in healthcare management.
    • Encourage a culture of knowledge-sharing and mentorship within your organization to foster the development of future healthcare leaders.

    Resources:

    MGMA Resources:

    We Want to Hear From You:

    Let us know if there's a topic you want us to cover, an expert you would like us to interview, or if you'd like to appear on an MGMA podcast. Email us at:

    • Daniel Williams: dwilliams@mgma.com
    • Ryan Reaves: rreaves@mgma.com
    • Colleen Luckett: cluckett@mgma.com

    Thank you for tuning in to the MGMA Podcast Network. Please subscribe and leave us a review. See you next time!

    Ryan Reaves

    Written By

    Ryan Reaves

    Ryan Reaves is content coordinator at MGMA. He is a seasoned content professional with a background in both community journalism and sports apparel eCommerce. Ryan is skilled in proofreading, image editing, and writing online content in a fast-paced environment. At MGMA, Ryan develops and edits content for books, podcasts and consulting.


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