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Tips for recruiting and retaining HTM staff

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | June 04, 2021
From the June 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Instead, they highlight other benefits that the VA offers including training, education opportunities, and retirement and family benefits. Buckley noted that this is especially attractive for younger people as they grow within the system.

Virtual recruitment events are a big part of the BME group’s recruitment strategy. Participants learn more about the HTM field and share their résumé to get them connected with VA sites around the U.S.

But one of the group’s most successful initiatives is its Ambassador Program, which has recruited 20 ambassadors across 10 VISNs. These ambassadors are equipped with a toolkit that includes presentation materials, flyers, business card templates and an AAMI HTM in a Box link.

They are required to attend four calls per year and complete two events, which can include career fairs, mentoring, presentations at schools and professional panels. BME has been able to target 40 events per year with their 20 ambassadors and they are hoping to double the number of ambassadors next year.

The BESS subgroup prioritizes training and education. The VA is working with their national SimLearn Center in Orlando to offer simulated ICU and OR environments and is also in talks with manufacturers about offering training on specific models of equipment.

“In my own experience, a lot of technicians may complain that they don’t get enough training whether it’s budgetary or missed opportunities to go out and get training on equipment,” said Patterson.

The group also created a tool to help supervisors become more intentional about planning their training. That includes guidance for how to justify training as an investment to C-suite administrators.

Patterson also stressed the importance of recognition as a retention strategy. The group holds its HTM High Five Award to recognize a handful of BESS employees that went above and beyond every year.

Since December 2018, there have been 122 nominations for this award. Several are chosen each month to highlight on a national HTM call or in the HTM newsletter.

“As a long-time supervisor, I believe that we can’t recognize people enough,” said Patterson. “That’s one thing that’s very easy to forget about and get into the habit of expecting people to do certain things.”

The most recent nominations focused on the HTM’s response to COVID-19. Patterson said that the team went to great lengths to ensure that the temporary ED was ready for use during the pandemic.

“This area was not ready for HTM until the end of the day,” he added. “This team stayed into the night installing equipment and making sure everything was ready to go for the opening the next day.”

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