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    Andy Stonehouse, MA

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    With staff shortages in abundance, recruitment and retention are a high priority for many medical practices.
    Katie Lawrence, MHA, CMPE, is executive director of ambulatory and medical group optimization with Prisma Health. Katie recently joined the MGMA Insights podcast to share her insights on recruitment and retention, as well as preview her upcoming sessions at the 2022 Medical Practice Excellence: Leaders Conference, Oct. 9-12 in Boston.

    Editor’s note: The following Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

    Q: Give us the elevator pitch for any of us that might be interested in recruitment and retaining employees.
    A: I don’t think it’s any surprise to anyone that we are losing employees in healthcare. The interesting thing, though, is that we aren’t losing too many out of healthcare, entirely. Most of the time, we’re trading employees … we’re seeing employees go from one medical practice to another, or from the outpatient space to working remotely. We’re seeing a lot of nurses who can do coding documentation or other sorts of remote work or remote patient monitoring.
    And that tells me that employees still want to be part of this industry. And so, we really need to figure out - how do we welcome them to our in-person practices? How do we keep them engaged with our patients who are coming to see us physically, because we’ve already said people want to see their physicians … and so we need people to be able to welcome our patients into our practices, to provide that care.
    Q: When you’re talking about recruitment and retention, is one more difficult now than the other, as far as staffing a medical practice?
    A: I think it’s two sides of the same coin. I do think what we’re seeing a different type of employee interviewing. It’s more rare that we are seeing a highly-skilled, highly-engaged go-getter ready to engage in the workforce. Even our college graduates who came out of their schooling this past spring, maybe didn’t jump into the workforce as fast as prior generations, or (even people) maybe five or seven years ago would have.
    I think that the other thing that happens once we get that awesome candidate in the door, we want to make sure that we are retaining them. And not just retaining the new person, but retaining the person who’s been with our practice for 10 years, or 12 years, or 24 years. What do we do to make sure they aren’t taking all of that knowledge and walking out the door? How do we then begin to think about the ways that we make it fun to come to work? I think it’s really about being able to step outside that box and be flexible.
    Q: Your other session really intrigues me because it takes a more reflective approach.
    A: Over the past couple of years, I personally have just been on a journey around developing a greater sense of self, a greater sense of who I am as a leader. And as I’ve interacted with peers along the way, I find that others are kind of in the same place. Maybe mid-career is the time to do this reflection. I think it’s an opportunity to unstick ourselves. How did we go from that bright-eyed, excited young professional to finding ourselves mid-career? How do we maintain that spark for life, because more research shows that that’s what gives us our joy. That’s why people stay in the workforce. That’s why people stay engaged ang why they don’t sort of melt away into the sunset.
    We don’t want to spend it feeling stuck in the mud. We want to feel like we’re doing something, especially in healthcare, especially in leadership. There’s so many little ways that can get missed along the way that can just begin to revive our spark and really begin to just enjoy what we do, again. There are a lot of little exercises that we can do as individuals that we can bring to our teams … things that we can begin to look at, just in the way that we tell ourselves the story of our lives and tell ourselves who we are as leaders, to really build upon the strength there.  


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    The MGMA Insights podcasts are produced by Daniel Williams, Rob Ketcham and Decklan McGee. 


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    Now is the perfect time to register for the Medical Practice Excellence: Leaders Conference in Boston, October 9-12, 2022, and at the Digital Experience (DX) November 8-10, 2022. Katie Lawrence will host two sessions on Monday, October 10, 2022: "Stop the Revolving Door: Recruit and Retain High-Performing Employees" and "Getting Unstuck: Revitalizing Our Sense of Self and Leadership."

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    Andy Stonehouse, MA

    Andy Stonehouse, MA, is a Colorado-based freelance writer and educator. His professional credits include serving as editor of Employee Benefit News and a variety of financial and insurance publications, in addition to work in the recreation and transportation fields.  

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