In a recent article in which nine hospital leaders were asked to reflect on their best investment, most of them answered that their best investment was in their employees. They realized that in order for their organization to prosper they need employees who are well trained in all of the skills necessary to do their best work.One of the leaders quoted Richard Branson as saying: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Branson’s quote is especially applicable to our field where it is necessary for biomedical personnel to remain constantly updated on new medical technologies and applications.
One of the problems however, is that biomedical supervisors frequently encounter difficulty when asking for funds to send their technicians to service schools. This is likely to become worse as hospitals are forced to tighten their budgets over the next few years. There are few ideal solutions to this problem, especially since most of the other hospital department heads are likely to also be competing for funds to train their personnel. However, biomedical departments do have a few arguments they can make to give them an advantage when requesting training funds from senior management.
Beyond arguing the cost savings you can achieve by taking on more in-house service, you can also point out that some manufacturers’ service representatives may take hours to respond to service calls. Since you are on-site and are able to respond immediately you can argue that training on a device will drastically reduce downtime. Point out to your management that every minute of downtime is disruptive because it interferes with the delivery of patient care. Downtime in the lab might mean that lab technicians have to resort to manual methods for testing and this would delay results critical to patient care. Your ability to respond immediately can minimize these delays. This can be an effective argument because senior managers are becoming increasingly aware of the need for their hospital to operate efficiently and equipment downtime disrupts efficiency.
Another approach is get involved with your purchasing department when they are negotiating the purchase of new devices. Ask them to include the costs of tuition for training in the purchase agreement. Companies frequently are happy to grant this concession because it costs them very little. Once you have a copy of the purchase agreement showing that your hospital has already paid for training as part of the purchase, you can easily argue that it would be a waste of money not to take advantage of the training that was paid for as part of the purchase. In reality then you are only requesting funds for travel and lodging.
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