A decade back, decisions pertaining to choice of place of work used to be based on job security. However, the world over, the scenario has changed and job security is neither provided in private nor the Govt sector. Even Govt sector employment has moved from fixed employment (till the age of retirement) to two-year contracts. Healthcare professionals are grappling with this change, unable to accept the frequent changes in employment terms and organisations. This age belongs to professionals who are ready to embrace the change, adapt and deliver value. To be able to do so requires immense EQ (emotional quotient) and just IQ/ core talent alone does not suffice.

By Dr Garima Singh

Any change in our work environment evinces a reaction in us much like the fight or flight response to physical danger. Change is perceived as a threat and we start to evaluate where we stand in the midst of this change. Most do not take time to reflect internally but rather focus on external factors which are usually not in their span of control, thereby losing heart and feeling victimised.

Formal trainings are available to help manage the change. However one can also follow few basic rules, which every healthcare professional can use while being in the midst of change.

WHEN DEALING WITH A CHANGE IN YOUR JOB ENVIRONMENT, FOLLOWING QUESTIONS WILL HELP YOU DECIDE NEXT STEPS:

Are you the pigeon or the statue? Are you the immobile statue on which the pigeon poops or are you that agile bird in flight which decides where to sit? Evaluate your current role with regards to change that is happening. Is the role still relevant? Are you adding more value than what you are taking home? Thumb rule is that one should ensure that he/ she adds more value than what one takes home. Can you add more value by being a change manager or by taking add on responsibilities? Do your personal values match with that of the organisation (after the change is implemented)?

SUMMARISE YOUR ANSWER IN ONE SENTENCE AND PUT IT IN BOLD AND READ IT OUT LOUD DAILY.

 

Clear Dos: Make a SWOT (Make four quadrants and in each chart one of the following: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats) for your ownself/ department Develop an action plan, based on SWOT Discuss and review your action plan and scorecard with your supervisor regularly Be ready to revise your scorecard to be more aligned to the new reality / asks of organisation Clear Don’t’s: Sense of entitlement to your current role and remuneration Avoid discussions on your/ department role with your supervisor/ boss Wait for the organisation to define your role (remember be the pigeon and not the statue) Coping mechanism: Forming winning teams Winning teams whether in medical practise on management teams enable better and faster outcomes in the face of change/ limited resources. Working in an aligned fashion and watching each other’s back ensures that stress goes down and productivity goes up. In this age where margin pressures are high, any solution that provides better margins without compromising core product /service quality will always be accepted. Start working on finding solutions to the problems that led to the change in organisation. Like the old adage goes that it’s better to be a part of solution than be the problem. Though most agree that being a part of team gives safety and security, they are unable to decide how and what to do to form a winning team.

Team comprises individuals with distinct/ unique skills amongst the group which when they come together are able to deliver exceptional product/ care. In healthcare delivery systems, currently teams are being structured as integrated practise units (IPUs). Till a few years back, physicians with same qualifications would team up and build practises such that they could cover greater geographic area and thereby leverage better with institutions and insurances. In an IPU, physicians and other care givers are structured around patient conditions. This enables sub specialisation and better outcomes. Benefit, by the side is, collaboration with work related colleagues and consequently higher security and support in an ever changing work environment. Financial modelling for these IPUs is critical to success.

In an IPU, personnel work together regularly as a team towards a common goal, maximising the patient’s overall outcomes as efficiently as possible. They are expert in the condition, know and trust one another and coordinate easily to minimise wasted time and resources. They meet frequently, formally and informally and review the data on their own performance. Ref: Harvard Business Review, South Asia, 2013.

Key differences of IPU versus the previous dept structure are that dictated teams are joint accountability for outcomes and costs, collective review of outcomes, costs and processes, single administrative structure.

Rapid change in work environments (particularly in private sector health care delivery units) requires healthcare professionals to accept change, adapt and deliver value consistently. Forming winning multi-disciplinary teams is a good coping mechanism for it.

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