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Career Ladders Strengthen Coordinators' Professional Development

Julie McCoy for HealthLeaders Media, October 12, 2010

Start with a foundation of research 

A career ladder should clearly define job classifications, the responsibility of each job category, and what it takes to move up the ladder. 

To develop a career ladder, you will most likely need to get support from and collaborate with HR, the GME office administrators, and department administrators. Convince these stakeholders to adopt your cause by backing it up with research. “Do your homework. Show that this is on the radar of other institutions,” Whitten says.  

Provide examples of coordinator career ladders and evidence that the coordinator’s job is no longer secretarial. 

Consider doing the following when gathering materials to make your case:

  • Examine job descriptions from other institutions, especially those that delineate different job categories for coordinators. Hunt for sample job descriptions on coordinator association websites or in the career sections of hospital websites. “Compare what different hospitals require and what the responsibilities assigned to the coordinators are,” Whitten says. Save time searching by having job descriptions sent directly to your inbox. Several job search sites have an alert system that will send you an e-mail whenever jobs are posted that match specific keywords. You can also set up Google Alerts for terms such as “residency coordinator” or “residency program administrator”; when those keywords appear in popular articles, you’ll receive an e-mail alert.  
  • Survey coordinators at other institutions via your coordinator associations or other e-mail listservs. 
  • Think outside of the box when looking for examples to prove that coordinators are administrators and need professional development to support their responsibilities, Whitten says. Include descriptions of sessions covering professional development from sources such as the ACGME, specialty association conferences, and HCPro’s Annual Residency Program Management Workshop. 

After gathering information from the field, look at the career ladders in your own institution. 

“We looked within our own system at the career ladders and paths for allied health [professionals] and nurses,” Oliver says.

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