As managers of imaging departments, there is a lot of responsibility that rests on our shoulders; I am referring to more than just our heads. (Although if a department is not running smoothly, we could lose our heads.) We walk a fine line between staff and upper management. We want to have our departments run smoothly, which means keeping both staff and upper management happy.
So, how do we accomplish this? What I believe to be the most important aspect of being a manager is letting your staff know that you are there to support them. Making sure they have the proper equipment, scanners, supplies and most importantly staff to be able to safely take care of patients. We have a responsibility to our institutions to make sure we are working within our budgets and are meeting the goals set forth for us each year.
But we cannot meet these goals without the proper tools. The most important tool in the tool box is your staff. One day, everything is running smoothly and the next, not so much and you find yourself missing some of your tools.
There are many reasons why you may find yourself short staffed:
- Maternity and/or paternity leave,
- Planned vacation time,
- Staff taking positions elsewhere,
- Or even retirement.
Now you need to fill the void that has been left. This is where the use of temporary/contract employees comes into play.
Some of the unique benefits of hiring a temporary or contract employee are that they are readily available and can quickly fill a staffing gap. They do not require much training, as they have experience working in many different departments, being exposed to many types of equipment. As we all know there are many vendors that sell scanners, and equipment is not the same from institution to institution.
Being able to quickly get someone in and orient them is important. It eliminates the need to reduce patient schedules, which keeps upper management happy, and your permanent staff does not become overworked, which keeps them happy. Most importantly the patients are being cared for in a safe environment.
Another benefit to hiring a temporary or contract employee is that you are actually giving them a three month interview. You get to know their work ethic, their personality and how they fit in with the rest of the staff. Building this relationship allows you as a manger to determine if this temp employee would be someone you are interested in hiring full-time, or at least bring back if needed again.
Using temp employees also allows you to build a relationship with the staffing company. You already know that you were provided with competent help in the past, so you can be assured that you will receive competent help in the future should the need arise. Especially if you oversee more than one area, you only have to reach out to one staffing company for all your needs.
As managers we have a lot of responsibilities. Knowing that there are great temporary/contract employees that have been well-vetted, and are available for immediate placement, removes at least one of the many dilemmas that can face us on any given day.