· The function of Human Resource Management has had to undergo many changes over the years to adapt to social, technological, and the physical environment. These inevitable changes have been compounded in recent years due to the global pandemic known as COVID-19. This shift in our new "norm" has created many challenges and opportunities for many business functions, but I have decided to focus on the impact to HR management.
The article I chose focuses on organizations helping their workforce cope with and adjust to the newly altered work environment. HR management is in a unique position that has required them to create new workplace policies and procedures, mitigate and or resolve potential P-E (Person-Environment) misfit, and balance an ever challenging work-life balance, while ensuring employee well-being and productivity.
HR management has had to revise ways to interview, select and train in a virtual environment, instead of face to face interaction. In addition, HR Management has had to implement working from home, having virtual meetings and trainings online. The article suggests learning or adapting techniques from entrepreneurs who often work autonomously and "manage reduced physical and social interaction as a fruitful area for helping employees navigating the limited physical and social interaction they currently face."
Many organizations have balanced social connections by having virtual lunches, coffee breaks and happy hours in order to offset changes in the social component of the traditional work environment.
HR management is in a unique position to rise to these present challenges as they constantly manage the human aspect of business operations. The best mgmt skills that an HR manager will need to be successful today is being flexible (with working conditions), advocating (for EAP, employee assistance programs, participation), and training and development for the present and future.
· While not all healthcare services are equipped or suitable to offer telehealth options to patients, there are some healthcare subspecialty services that have benefited greatly from both a patient and provider standpoint. One such specialty has been the field of laryngology, otherwise known as speech-language pathology, who were deemed as essential critical infrastructure workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, forcing many healthcare providers to adopt or switch to telehealth appointments, in order to provide ongoing access to healthcare services from a distance. These technological advances were proven to be beneficial as they enabled patients to access medical services without the provider being in the same room, for both urgent and non-urgent complaints. Patients were also able to receive their needed services by local professionals without masking and other protective measures in place.
However, the study does present the limitations of telehealth services outside its ability to conduct thorough physical examinations and hands-on treatments or services. Effectively being able to identify which telehealth barriers were eliminated and which ones persisted during the pandemic was invaluable for healthcare administrators and clinicians who came to rely on these telehealth services. As in doing so, they were able to create long-term health equity benefits; including allowing providers to reach more patients in remote areas or with transportation barriers, as they saw an increased number of patients in need who have historically avoided care due to stigma or regulatory and insurance hurdles.
Unfortunately, the barriers do not stop there as there are several obstacles presented to health care administration looking to adopt the telehealth model, including: money, regulations, popularity, adoption techniques, technology, evidence, and success rate. Some of these concerns are shared with health care in general and some are new kinds of barriers that accompany the transformation of health care by telehealth services. Which is where healthcare administrators come in, as they are responsible for providing education, resources, infrastructure and funding so local medical centers have professionals who offer speech pathology services through telehealth. Additionally, management is responsible for providing leadership, directing, evaluating, and providing feedback to professional level-employees who participate in the operations of telehealth services. Once these are addressed, clinicians and healthcare administrators alike can anticipate telehealth service to continue long after the COVID-19 pandemic.
· Managing a healthcare system has its challenges, let alone during a rapidly growing pandemic. The research from this article aids in explaining the background of burnout in emergency medicine physicians since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through multiple different physician networks, a total of 850 United States based physicians completed a survey focusing on several different topics including: “resource adequacy, institutional support, well-being, and burnout”. Scientists created an 18 multiple choice-based survey, including opportunities to elaborate on situations including resource availability, mental support, welfare, and the feelings of burnout. Following the survey, scientists concluded that due to many factors including region, family isolation, work-related emotional strain, increased workload, and insufficient resources lead physicians to feel more burnt out, which in turn made physicians feel that their levels of care were different.
Providing a different level of care to patients is a term that should never be used within a healthcare system. Though a pandemic is challenging to navigate, facing constant unknowns, changes, and frustration from both patients and staff. It is pivotal to think creatively about new ways to engage, encourage, and nourish your staff. Throughout the pandemic creating a better working environment and benefits for employees, no matter what role they play, would come full circle to helping with the overall morale of a system. Brainstorming innovative ideas including simple things such as coloring books in the break room to allow staff to take a few minutes to breathe or making the staff's mental health a priority by providing on-site counseling for the constant feeling of gloom for this situation. Different teamwork activities to help bring more joy, creating vision boards for the future for a light to look forward to. When you start small within the healthcare system, it creates a ripple effect. One slight change such as coloring books in the break rooms, a vision board, or for the management to come to the “front line” to check on staffing or help with barriers could help boost morale, which carries into the next staff member and even on to the patients. There are things in healthcare administration that are out of the control of the healthcare system but helping to focus on the joy in the workday would reflect on what the physicians in this study struggled with throughout the height of the pandemic.