Using professional travel staff is a great way to fill in during busy seasons in healthcare facilities, yet it may also be a challenge to help those members integrate into your established teams for a short assignment. There are strategies your managers can use to help your new staff member fit in with your current team and reduce areas of friction.
Expand Orientation — Most physical and occupational therapists are expected to hit the ground running for short-term assignments. However, your facility may use a prepared packet addressing items not often found in orientation but rather aimed at helping your short-term therapist fit into an established team. Assigning the new member a mentor for their stay helps the new team member be accepted a little more readily as they are working closely with another member of the team. Include information about the core values of the facility and maybe some fun information about the team, the hospital or the geographical area.
Use a Welcome Strategy — From management to the team, everyone should have a role in making any short-term therapist feel welcome in the facility. At the end of their assignment, engage them in an evaluation of your facility, asking questions such as: “What could have been done to make you feel more comfortable, accepted and appreciated?” Using questions to brainstorm can help you and your team come up with a plan for bringing new short-term employees into the setting successfully.
Take a Fresh Look — New individuals always bring their own expertise and experiences into your company. Encourage your current staff to seek them out to find out how things are done differently and allow new employees to share insights with your team. Encourage the short-term staff member to frame their ideas as suggestions rather than criticisms, as it’s easier to embrace change new employees bring into the healthcare setting and encourage your team to do the same. Ultimately, this improves care for your patients.
Express Genuine Interest — From management to staff, it’s helpful to express a genuine interest in the new employee as a person as this increases productivity and reduces the financial burden on the team and the healthcare facility. Knowing if a person is an auditory, kinesthetic or visual learner will help you determine how they feel best appreciated. A verbal complement, note or handshake will be accepted differently depending upon the individual. In some cases, your recruiter may help identify this information prior to placement.
Coming into a new facility for a short-term assignment can be overwhelming and challenging. By immersing your new employee in the culture quickly, it helps make them feel like a valuable part of the team. This can be done by assigning them specific roles, encouraging them to use specific talents or even throwing a potluck lunch at the end of their first week.
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