Interview with a Human Resource Manager
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Being a healthcare human resource manager is a lot harder than what some people might think. Some people become healthcare HR managers because they think that by having the experience of any management position it could be the same, but even though the main idea of managing people is the same, in the case of a HR of a healthcare facility many state and national regulations have to be followed in order to be in compliance with the patient care and safety everyone deserves; such as the Health Insurance Portability Act (HIPAA). I decided to interview Eric D. Artis Director of H.R. department at the Medical Center of Aurora because I wanted to know what it would be like to work for a hospital. In the next few paragraphs I will explain briefly what experience and challenges Eric faces there.
Since a young age Eric developed his communication skills broadly; he was the student president for many years because he loved the interactions with students as well as with the teachers and parents. In 1983 he joined the air force, and while enrolled he decided to major in Business Administration which help him achieved the position of Commissioned Officer in which he was in charge of the integration of the facility-wide human resources operations, policies, processes and practices in order to transition to a more efficient and collaborative operation, he was also in charge of implementing all the regulations pertaining to civilian grievances and sexual harassment investigations. After loving the experience of been involved in human resources, he decided to go back to school and continue his education. He then studied in the Colorado State University in where he mastered his Master Education Human Resources and Organization. It took him over ten years of H.R. experience in order for him to feel confident of wanting to work for a healthcare facility.
His first job in the healthcare world was back in 2004 with Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in where he was the Vice President of H.R. and Support Services. He joined his four year journey in whereas he learned all the regulations needed in order to run the hospital’s staff. He there gained as much experience as possible before applying for his current position as the Director of the Medical Center of Aurora. He has held his current position since 2008; he is in charge of 1500 employees of whom he knows most of them, but due to his tight schedule he barely interacts with any of them; he has five managers that report to him of which each has ten supervisors reporting to them. He has learned all the tasks his five managers do, not only because he wants to assure himself they are performing their jobs properly but also because he knows he might have to cover them under any circumstance. He finds it very challenging to do the payroll, not only because it is done every two weeks but because it’s too many employees to keep track of. He also finds it hard to keep up with all their benefits, especially when it comes to counting their vacation and sick hours.
Eric is very appreciated of his secretary Marie, who happens to be his right hand, he states that he wouldn’t know what to do without her; she makes sure everything is done right and on time, and what makes her such a good employee is that she never complains about anything. In order for him to keep a healthy environment with the employees he has learned to be very flexible with their working schedules, and open to all conversations any of the employees might want to have. After all he does remember what is was like to be under the supervision of others.
To encourage his employees on working better he has adopted the program as many other places, by having small greeting cards that can be filled out by either patients or other employees to either complain about them or compliment them, whoever gets the most appreciations a month can receive a gift card of their choice. He states that even though it might not seem as a big reward for them, it does help them feel appreciate it. He also helps them organize lunches for holidays.
A main challenge that Eric faces is every quarter, when he has to attend the Health One Meetings, in where all the H.R. managers/directors from all the Health One Hospitals have to attend; in there he always has to meet with elderly men who hold his same position at other facilities, they tend to not want to speak with him much, because they feel intimidated that he holds such position at such a young age. He has learned with time that it’s better to ignore them; he knows is better to not cause any conflicts, after all their reaction towards him does not affect him in any way. He finds himself under a lot of stress while trying to keep up with and implement the constantly changing employer/employee regulations, “what might be legal today, will not necessarily be legal tomorrow”. He says there are a lot of new laws that are hard to comprehend, but are needed in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for the employees. Because of this, he encourages healthcare students to dedicate themselves to it 100%.
He says being a H.R. manager is not an easy job to deal with, but he believes it’s better than being a physician. After all, he loves being around patients, but not directly with them. He is also very careful when hiring disable employees, mainly because throughout his career he has experienced that no matter how many valid reasons a job might have to dismiss a disable employee, in the end it always comes back as a legal problem, and due to this reason he is always making sure all that the American with Disability Act regulations are been set and are in place; he would not want to have any suits due to misinformation. He also faces many problems with the HIPAA regulations; he states it’s a very simple regulation to follow but hard for people to follow it.
The HIPAA regulation was created to protect patient information, because not everyone should have the access to a patients file. He says it’s a hard regulation to implement because employees are constantly talking to one another about their cases from the day, but this highly breaks the law, it is not necessary to mention the patients name in order for it to be a breach of the regulation; but it seems as a very hard thing for employees to follow. After all it is no one’s business to know the patients issues or problems.
After interviewing Eric, I feel that he might find it stressful most of the time because he is in charge of a lot of people. Any job can be stressful at times, but if you love what you do you will always know how to make it better. I personally would like to work at Eric’s job simply because it’s such a big place in where I might not have a lot of direct contact with the patients as I currently have at my job. I decided to interview him because I wanted to see the perspective of a hospital. I find it to be interesting that no matter how big or small a facility might be the same type of problems always arises. Overall it was great experience to get an idea of what a H.R. manager does, because yes, it is nice to be able to hold such position, but one should understood that high position require a lot of knowledge and responsibility.