Newswise — Hospitals, as you well know, operate around the clock.
Ever ask yourself who are the people behind the scenes, the ones taking charge and handling patient care, administrative duties and emergencies in the wee hours after senior leaders (presidents, vice presidents and the like) have finished their normal shifts, or when leaders are really busy with other hugely important hospital-related matters and need assistance?
Tip your hat to LifeBridge Health’s hospital operations coordinators. They’re an integral part of our care management team.
Being an HOC, in addition to extensive clinical and leadership experience, requires a very diverse skillset: critical thinking, effective communication with staff from multiple disciplines, strategic planning, troubleshooting, multitasking.
Lots of multitasking.
“We’re many times the ambassador between disciplines and have to know the leaders and also the staff of those disciplines to make sure that the hospital functions at all times as efficiently as possible,” says Sarah Inman, manager of nursing support services at Northwest Hospital.
HOCs frequently round all hospital units looking for fires to put out. They make sure there is adequate staffing and availability of resources for optimal patient care, and identify issues affecting throughput (patient flow from admission through discharge) that need to be resolved, deploying staff where need be. It has its challenges.
Guest relations is also part of the job after normal hours and during extremely busy times. In addition, if a major emergency—a lockdown for example—occurs, HOCs put on their incident commander hats and help maintain order for as long as needed. In general, HOCs endeavor to balance the overall operational needs of the hospital with safe, efficient patient care. They’re at the foundation of what makes things run smoothly, often when they’re not seen in action on the frontline.
As you can imagine, given all that they do, HOCs work a lot of hours. At Sinai Hospital (which has about five HOC positions and several PRN, or as needed, staff), HOCs cover shifts as long as 16 hours during the week and provide 24-hour coverage on weekends. Northwest Hospital, which has some 10 HOCs along with PRN staff, and where more than 90 percent of admissions come through the emergency department, has 24/7 HOC coverage.
When you see an HOC, feel free to say thanks for all they do. They do quite a lot, seen or unseen.
Visit www.lifejobs.org to learn more about available HOC jobs and other open positions.