3 suggestions for the healthcare manager that needs to plan better
by Louise Wahlström
Planning, reflection and finding ways to be proactive are constant challenges for managers within the primary care sector. Thy are often forced to make quick decisions and put out fires. If you feel like planning is hard to prioritize, this blog post is for you!
Healthcare centers have a constant pressure put upon them and usually that pressure comes down the hardest on the manager in charge of making sure things run smoothly every day. In order to be able to plan better you need to prioritize the time for planning. Of course, staff and patients come first. Some things just can’t be planned or controlled in advance. Some day the pressure on your staff will be extra high due to many incoming calls from patients, while other days can be completely different. The important thing to keep in mind is that through planning you can adjust and adapt the healthcare center even when unexpected things happen.
1. Prioritize your planning
As a manager in the primary care sector it’s hard to not keep an open door for staff needing guidance and quick solutions to their problems. You obviously want everything to run smoothly. However you should try to set aside time for planning during the more quiet portions of your day. Explain to your staff that you’re using that time for planning and that they should put off any questions until afterwards.
2. Create your own framework
When you’re planning make sure you have created your own framework. Such a framework might include how far into the future you should plan or how to best optimize your staff’s skills. Planning for a month ahead might be a good goal to strive for when you decide how much staff you need to schedule. If you’re familiar with the skill set of each and every employee you’re one step ahead as well. If you can create a clear framework to follow the actual planning will get done quicker. Also, if you get sick it’s good to have a plan that reaches far ahead in time – but you also need an employee to be able to take over your tasks if you’re absent a long time. With an easy to follow framework set up it’ll be a lot easier for that employee to continue your work.
3. Respect the time of your staff
Make sure your staff has enough breaks and long enough periods of rest between their scheduled work hours. If the staff gets enough breaks you’ll have employees who are healthy and engaged. First of all you need to follow any and all laws and regulations regarding rest and breaks for employees. Also, when you plan your staff’s time there’s always going to be an unpredictable element that you cannot plan for such as sick leave. That’s why it’s good to make a plan flexible enough to be adjusted to such unpredictable changes. Shortage of nurses or doctors is a real problem. However, some tasks can probably be delegated for the time being. That way the work can continue as usual even when there are absent staff members.
As a manager within the primary care sector you often have to make ad-hoc decisions that negatively impact your ability to plan. Make it known to your staff that you’re setting aside specific time each week for planning and ask them to let any questions wait until afterwards. To make the planning as efficient as possible you should create your own framework to save time. When planning your staff’s time make sure to leave in space for unpredictable events that might leave you with absent staff members.