Tip of the week: Build a successful relationship with your program director

Residency Program Insider, March 8, 2011

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There are several actions coordinators can take to build a respectful and supportive working relationship with the program director,including the following:

  • Be proactive. Learn about the program and its history, and understand the various requirements the program must follow. If you find that the program is deficient in an area, speak up, develop a plan of action, and help implement it.
  • Meet with the program director. These sessions should be a two-way conversation, not simply the program director dictating tasks. Take the opportunity to share your accomplishments. Review the projects you completed, especially if you went above and beyond in an area or proactively handled a potentially disastrous situation. Tell him or her about processes, systems, evaluation forms, and additions to the program website that you created.
  • Get involved. Attend resident meetings and curriculum development sessions. It is okay to be in places where others might not expect to find a coordinator. Not only will you have a better idea of what is happening in the program, but you can also have input on major changes that may affect your daily management of the program.
  • Stay a step ahead of the program director. Promptly provide information the program director requests. Never wait until the last minute. Prepare the program director for meetings and issues by providing support and compiling data or reports when needed. Anticipate the program director’s requests. Copying the program director on important e-mails to the residents and faculty will keep him or her informed.

All of these activities will support the duties and responsibilities of the program director. Acting professionally, providing reports and recommendations, commenting on areas of concern, managing program data with an eye toward detail, and taking ownership of the job help to establish a culture of trust and respect that encourages team dynamics and a successful partnership.

This week’s tip is from HCPro’s newest resource for program coordinators, The Residency Coordinator’s Handbook, Second Edition.

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