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In California office, the training starts on day 1 and never ends

No manager can set expectations without giving staff the tools to achieve them, says a California administrator. And the main tool for it all is never ending training.

At Santa Barbara Cardiovascular Medical Group, Patricia Board starts the training on the first day a staffer comes in. She gives the newcomer a check-off list of both job and office basics and spends several hours going over each item.

“Those are the things a new staffer needs to know right away,” she says – confidentiality, computer use, dress code, work hours, staff names, and preferences such as how to address the physicians.

Following that is 45 minutes of basic OSHA training.

From there, Board turns the training over to the other staff in the area where the new employee will work, and for the first several days, it’s mostly a matter of shadowing. The peer training continues throughout the 90-day probation period, she says, “and it can be as fast or as slow as needed.”

Throughout the period, Board meets with the new employee – sometimes as often as weekly – to see how the training is progressing. Sometimes the peer trainers participate in those meetings to talk about what the newcomer has learned and still needs to learn.

And it doesn’t stop there. “Everything is in writing as well,” Board says

On the office’s network, Board maintains a manual that covers absolutely everything anybody could want to know – policies, procedures, equipment use, clinical guides such as how to do an EKG, and even summaries of memos that go out. The manual is extensive to the point “that someone could self train with it,” she explains.

Along with that, at every desk is a mini manual in a white binder that covers all the reference material the office uses –names, job titles, addresses, phone numbers, the doctors’ license numbers, computer directions, emergency numbers, and even things such as where to call if a patient has a psychological problem.

Every desk has the exact same manual kept in the exact same order, she says. That way, the information is immediately available no matter where someone is standing.

The training continues at every staff meeting.

Board keeps staff updated on everything from OSHA to the office’s HR policy. But she also covers the changes that occur in the health care industry. Patients are going to ask about those things, she says, and staff need to be able to explain them and tell what the office is doing in response.

“There are no politics involved, but there aren’t any question marks either,” Board says.

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