IHS Successful Retention Practices
Retention Brief
Volume 2
Issue 6
June 2015
“Focus on building
good communication
skills that will allow
you to clearly
articulate your ideas
and decisions.”
Taking Care of Business

The IHS Division of Health Professions Support (DHPS) presents the sixth Retention Brief in our series designed to help you address the challenge of retaining health professionals and clinical staff.

In this issue, we look at the complex decisions sometimes faced by clinical directors who must demonstrate effective leadership by recognizing the needs of the organization and striving to meet them. The best practices demonstrated in this case are leadership, communication and staff accessibility.

Coping with Closures

For budgetary reasons, labor and delivery units of some small community hospitals have had to close. These closures typically are accompanied by restructuring of the service units’ workforce to ensure that staff members (obstetricians, midwives and nurses) are appropriately reassigned and retained. With an understanding of their administrative options, clinical directors know that they not only have to transfer staff members into new roles, but also consider how staff can adapt and continue to grow professionally. This is especially true for midwives whose primary career responsibility will no longer be delivering babies.

Making the Most of Reassignments

When a clinic or health facility is forced to close, oftentimes late-career obstetricians will choose to retire and remaining obstetricians and nurses will be reassigned to new positions that allow them to continue their chosen work. The clinical director can work with midwives to find them positions that allow them to participate in prenatal and postpartum care, in addition to performing some case management activities.

 

When this occurs, there is a real need for candor. Clinical directors are advised to be straightforward with staff about the decisions being made on their behalf. It’s a perfect time for clinical directors to express their expectations and hopes for individual staff members to further their careers through new opportunities, such as case management, and to encourage them to learn how they can expand their specialties.

Showing the Way to
New Opportunities

Although initially, new assignments may not be a perfect match for the staffers’ entire skillsets, clinical directors should communicate their retention strategies and assure the staff that new roles can open up opportunities for career expansion and advancement. These types of complex decisions are central to effective leadership — successfully meeting the needs of the organization while, at the same time, taking every staff member into consideration.

Set the Right Course

Strong leadership involves understanding what your organization can do well and devising a strategic plan to accomplish organizational goals. It’s important to focus on building good communication skills that will allow you to clearly articulate your ideas and decisions to staff and inspire them to take an interest in achieving the best outcomes. By placing an emphasis on being accessible to all staff members, you can share your vision with them and provide them with a path to meet their needs while helping achieve your organization's goals.

Making the right decision for your facility overall may require you to make changes among the staff and the way the facility works. Explain any necessary changes upfront and have the staff work with you to implement those changes. This will foster confidence, dedication and a team environment within the workplace.

Accessibility is Key

By placing an emphasis on being accessible to all staff members, you can share your vision with them and provide them with a path to meet their needs while helping achieve your organization's goals.

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The policy of the IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies within the IHS. IHS is an equal opportunity employer.

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