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Essay Contest

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2nd Place - Lydia Massey of Charlotte, NC ($500)

BEING A PRACTICE MANAGER

photo of Lydia Massey

Being a practice manager is sort of like being part of a small group of people who are spread out all over the place. In a physician's practice you have the "staff" side of things and the "physician" side of things. And you can be caught somewhere in the middle, feeling like sometimes you have nobody on your side. This can feel very lonely. As a manager you exhibit superior levels of professionalism, which can sometimes lead people to believe that it might be difficult to build a relationship with you or to get to know you personally. It feels like you have to keep some distance between you and others in the practice. This is where you strive to create a balance of getting to know people in the workplace and in showing concern about situations. You lead as a coach and at times have to counsel others. By the end of the day, mentally you can feel drained, without even mentioning the various tasks you handled as part of you own workload.

In practice management there is a need to consult your peers, or at least be able to reach out to someone who "walks in your shoes." Without this support you might believe that you are the only practice that can't locate someone's medical record, have to calm an angry physician or let someone go for poor performance issues after spending countless hours counseling an employee who is doomed to fail. You may even have physicians telling you that your practice is the only practice that loses charts. Well, if you are not on an EMR or EHR there will be times where you just can't put your hands on that paper chart.

Above is what I've experienced since I became a practice manager about 10 years ago. Prior to my current position, I managed a non-physician department in a healthcare facility. Most people in the department served in a similar role and had comparative educational and career backgrounds. Because there were no physicians in the department, all staff accepted direction from me, with no questions asked. We were a happy group and a close group. I did not feel lonely or feel the need to seek support from my peers. In my current position, what I just described isn't the case. When I learned about PAHCOM I became very curious to find out more about the local chapter. I was invited to attend a meeting and heard that the lunch was going to be ordered from a German restaurant that I love so I accepted the invitation. That was several years ago and I've been going to these meetings consistently since then. I joined PAHCOM shortly after the first meeting I attended.

My own experience in being a member of PAHCOM has been extremely rewarding. I get to interact with my peers (people in my shoes) frequently. I find much relief mentally after having discussions with people like me. In addition, I've gained valuable information and feedback from other managers. No more time spent on "reinventing the wheel." I can reach out to another PAHCOM Member to seek advice and feel comfortable doing so at any time. Our local chapter meets once each month and these sessions have provided me with a lot of knowledge on various topics. There has been a tremendous bond formed among me and many. I no longer feel alone.


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