Case Studies Demonstrate Impact of Job Quality Projects in Healthcare
Pathways to Work has released three case studies that document the impact of job quality projects focused on Patient Care Technicians (PCTs) at Methodist Health System , Parkland Hospital, and UT Southwestern Medical Center.
With funding provided by National Fund for Workforce Solutions via The Prudential Foundation, the three health systems implemented projects to improve the onboarding and work experiences of PCTs. Before piloting the projects, the three health systems hosted focus groups of PCTs to understand the challenges they faced on the job. PCTs spoke of being underappreciated compared to other healthcare workers like nurses. They also relayed a need for better on the job training at the start of their employment. Based on this feedback, all three hospitals developed recognition programs. Methodist and UT Southwestern also implemented training programs to better equip newly hired PCTs to achieve success on the job. The result was a substantial reduction in turnover and vacancy rates of PCTs. The hospitals also learned a great deal from their efforts as detailed in the following lessons learned.
Build on existing programs and partnerships.
Methodist and UT Southwestern’s strategy to improve on-the-job training and onboarding for PCTs through the Preceptor and Residency Programs were adapted from the nursing preceptor model. This made the concept easy for senior leadership to buy into the concept and see the value it could provide to PCTs. The ROSE Award which was developed by Parkland and adopted by UT Southwestern and Methodist, was modeled after the Daisy Award in nursing. Again, the concept was easy for staff at all levels to understand and rally around since they held the Daisy Award in high regard and witnessed how that recognition program kept nurses feeling valued and engaged.
Even though the hospitals had high ambitions at the start of the grant, they managed to pilot their strategies on a small scale so they could adjust when needed and gain support of key staff. The preceptor and residency programs at Methodist and UT Southwestern hosted cohorts of no more than 10 workers. Parkland’s Rose Award elected only to recognize 2 PCTs per month instead of a group of PCTs on a specific floor or department. This ensured that staff overseeing the program and financial resources supporting it weren’t stretched too thin.
Mobilize staff at all levels to support job quality.
The success of the job quality strategies across the three health systems hinged on involving staff at all levels. This began with the worker focus groups where tapping into the worker voice continued throughout the grant. PCTs helped to design the ROSE Award program. PCTs who participated in the preceptor and residency programs were surveyed so clinical staff could better understand how the overall learning experience was received, which curriculum components were most valued, and where the program could be improved. Mid-Level managers were also important both in the job quality design and implementation. Getting their buy in was essential as they were the primary communication channel that PCTs found out about career maps or improved onboarding experiences. They also communicated the skill sets PCTs were most deficit in and this feedback went into the design and continuous improvement of the preceptor and residency programs. These managers also nominated PCTs for award programs and allowed PCTs to be recognized on the floors. Finally, support from senior leadership had to be cultivated as well to implement the grant activities in the first place and secure resources in existing budgets to sustain them beyond the grant period. All hospitals plan to continue their recognition programs. Methodist and UT Southwestern will also continue their preceptor and residency programs as well.
Read the case studies here.