by Lynette Kee, MA
Vizient Programmatic Advisor, Clinical Workforce Solutions

You may have whiplash from the wide array of headlines about the clinical workforce over the past 18 months: “The ‘Great Resignation’ is really the ‘Great Discontent’;” “ANA Calls for the Nurse Staffing Crisis To be Declared a National Emergency;” all the way to “Fauci Effect encourages more medical and nursing school applicants.” It seems like every day we hear of the challenges clinicians face—lack of alignment and engagement with hospital and health system strategy and goals, well-being and burnout issues from the demands of professional duties and the transition from fee-for-service to value-based payment with health information technology as the platform. These are just a few areas where we need to help clinicians achieve success while managing the demands of practice. An effective clinician onboarding program can help ensure clinician well-being and engagement throughout their career—including times of immense stress.

The first year of employment is a particularly stressful time and a sensitive time for clinicians to establish a loyal relationship or to become disenfranchised. Investing in the development and ongoing maintenance of a robust clinician onboarding program will assist you in providing the support, preparation, and foundation that clinicians need for a successful career at your organization.

Consider the clinician onboarding experience, especially during times of great stress, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Are new clinicians given the time and attention necessary to properly assimilate into your organization? How clinicians are treated during onboarding will affect their perception of how much (or little) they are valued and may negatively impact team cohesion and patient care. Ultimately, this lack of support could also lead to turnover and lower patient and employee satisfaction.

So, what is the solution? Most clinicians’ needs can be supported through the establishment of a robust onboarding and engagement program. In addition to making sure they fully immerse themselves into your organization’s culture and network, properly onboarding clinicians can have a positive impact on your bottom line. As organizations grow in size and complexity (including mergers and acquisitions), a consistent onboarding and engagement program can be an important component of your culture journey, ensuring that all new clinicians understand your values, expectations, processes and resources.

Investing in a robust onboarding and engagement solution is a new concept for most organizations. It can be a heavy lift, requiring significant development work and curriculum maintenance if building from the ground up. Consider partnering with an organization that has established expertise and is ready to help you quickly implement a program customized to your culture and needs. Such programs improve provider engagement and retention, considerably reduce turnover expense, aid the organization’s culture journey and improve overall quality of care.

If you want to positively impact clinicians and patients while also reducing expense, take some time to assess your current onboarding and engagement process. Speaking with clinicians who have joined the organization during the pandemic will likely provide actionable insights. Investing in clinicians and showing them that you truly care about their experience from day one is a smart investment with a lasting effect.

If you need support, Vizient can help you establish a robust onboarding and engagement program for clinicians. Email me or visit our website to learn more and read one of our member success stories.

About the author: As programmatic advisor for Clinical Workforce Solutions – Physician and APP Onboarding, Lynette Kee, MA, serves as a subject matter expert and primary point of contact for members who are partnering with Vizient to create a best-in-class onboarding and engagement experience for clinicians. She assists in ongoing program development, implementation, training and evaluation. Lynette has over 20 years experience in health care and has primarily focused on patient experience and workforce issues like clinician recruitment, onboarding, engagement and leadership development.

Published: March 2, 2022