Author: Dana Jacoby
In the wake of The Great Resignation, workplace culture is more important now than ever. This is just as true—if not more so—for healthcare professionals and medical practices. According to the American Nurses Association, America is facing a serious nurse shortage, to the tune of 1.1 million nurses needed in 2022 alone. To ensure that your practice is ready to recruit and retain the best healthcare providers in the job market, it is important to consider your practice’s culture. You might be wondering, “Does culture play a role in healthcare?” Just like in every industry, the answer is undeniably yes. Your practice’s culture will determine the caliber of workers you recruit and retain. Because they are at the helm of your practice, your physician leaders are key in creating a culture of success for every one of your employees.
Here’s how to build a culture in your medical practice.
Have a Vision for Your Practice’s Future
Culture begins with knowing what you and your practice stands for. It deals with how you handle and prioritize your finances, your people, and your patients. Culture defines your practice’s stance on work-life balance, on decision-making within your teams at all levels, and on growth. Thinking about what your practice prioritizes on all of these levels is key to building your culture—and to your strategic planning. Practices which have a strongly defined culture tend to provide more fulfilling work to their employees and more meaningful outcomes for their patients. Plus, organizations with a robust internal culture do better financially—this is in part because internal decision making becomes more clear, and because your physician leadership is united in their outlook on healthcare and the future of the practice.
Know Your Practice’s Values and Live Them
Developing your practice’s culture starts by defining your organization’s core values. Core values might be “compassion,” “equity in access,” “excellence in service,” “professional development,” or any subject related to practicing medicine that your healthcare practice might want to prioritize. When thinking about your values, think about how you want each of your employees to show up to work each day. Emphasizing teamwork, for instance, might encourage your employees to learn from each other, support one another during difficult times, and indicate that your practice’s outlook on work-life balance is aligned with how your nurses and doctors show up as a team. On the other hand, a value like “commitment to excellence,” suggests that your practice might continually invest in training and development, cutting edge technology, and improving patient experience. A good set of organizational values for a medical practice can help direct your organizational progress for years or even decades to come.
Strong Culture Survives Structural Change
If your practice is merged or sold, culture becomes even more crucial. Your best employees, at all levels, can grow discouraged and stressed after a merger, and having a strong internal culture can help mitigate that stress. The best way for physician leaders to embody culture during and after a merger is to isolate the key values of your practice’s culture throughout the merger. It can be tough to maintain a workplace culture after a merger, considering that your acquiring partner’s company will likely have their own culture and values. However, by going back to the basics of your practice’s culture, and working to embody those values, even in your new roles post-merger, your practice’s physician leaders can actually carry the values of your practice into their new workplace. This consistency can boost your team’s morale, and keep your best workers feeling cared for and protected through the rocky process of merging.
Developing and growing a meaningful workforce culture in your practice is hard work, and can be even more difficult in the face of mergers or acquisitions. At Vector Medical Group, we want your healthcare practice to succeed and expand. We’ve built out a culture assessment that your physician leaders can use to take your practice’s temperature, culturally speaking. This checklist will help you and your team understand what areas of your practice’s culture to work on, and is a great jumping off point for developing a lasting, purposeful culture in your medical practice.