The term employability skills is referred to skills needed not only to get good employment, but to develop within an enterprise in order to attain one’s potential as well as successfully contribute to strategic directions of company. Employability skills comprises general abilities and skills that employer or owner look for, which can be applied in one environment and developed in another context. The given case is elaborating employability skills of Admin Assistant in Care UK along with its responsibilities. The paper is inculcating strategies required by Admin assistant to execute given duties at workplace. Moreover, problems that can be faced by admin staff and methods for their improvement is being given at the end of content.
Background of the Company
The British organization Care UK provides social and health care. It functions with primary care trust, councils and doctors for delivering support plus care to old people as well as to those with mental health issues or learning disabilities and also a series of healthcare services to patients of NHS. The association was formed in 1982 as Anglia Secure Homes, which in 1994 became Care UK PLC. It runs 85 care home facilities for old age people and support over 17,000 aged entities with several disabilities through the services of home care. In the year 2011, Dr Foster, named the organization as best provider of health and care services.
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1.1 Own responsibilities and performance objectives of Admin Assistant in Care UK
The main duty of admin staff to provide the practice with effective and efficient administrative assistance to ensure that objectives of practice are reached and to facilitate a caring services to patients. Moreover, the following responsibilities are required to be execute by me at Care UK:
- Ensure that all received practice mail is scanned, files and circulated
- Ensure input of adequate information onto computer
- Ensure the hospital reports, letter, laboratory reports, etc. are scanned, filed and circulated in the records of patients
- Ensure that every procedures and systems of administration concur with policy of practice
- Obtain and process repeat prescriptions
- Provide proper, caring and courteous services of reception plus telephone to patients
- Receive and record requests of appointment and home visits on computers
- Guide the Practice Manager in determining IT training needs and minimum competencies required for job role and participate in planned training
- Participate in continuous performance review and objectives setting
- Help the Practice Manager in managing and developing IT plus information strategy to improve the IT equipment use
- Keep updates of clinical software
- Participate in data collection and audit
With an aim to fulfil the above mentioned responsibilities effectively, the objectives decided by me to achieve through this post in organization are:
- To ensure all procedures of receptionist are carried out as per standards, rules and regulations;
- To assist the Practice Manager for ensuring proper system of administration in place to offer quality services to patients;
- To help Practice Manager to ensure appropriate communication channels for easy flow of information both externally and within the practice;
- To confirm that IT system practice is utilized completely to support the administrative and receptionist services as per standards.
1.2 Own effectiveness against defined objectives
As an admin assistant I am very effective to manage administrative services and perform activities related to reporting, filing, calling and managing appointments of patients. Furthermore, the below points explore my effectiveness against decided objectives:
- I have enough practical experience to carry out my duty;
- My communication skills are good to support Practice Manager in his work;
- I am loyal to doctors, seniors and patients too;
- I desire to become an Office Manager through my dedicated work;
- I always maintain ethical practice and code at my place of work;
- I am enthusiasm and very much passionate towards my sector;
- I attempt to adopt innovative techniques or software in my regular practices.
1.3 Recommendations for improvement
While working in Care UK, I observed that management of health services is a growing field, specifically as technology is adopted by more healthcare facilities. The management of records as well as lab results are all shifting to electronic platforms and thus demands of professional administrators are increasing in healthcare units for careful data handling. Furthermore, my work require me to enhance process and efficiency in hospital, updated on compliance and laws, be the company’s face at main meetings, manage schedules of staff as well as manage or organize health records. Therefore, the following qualifications plus skills will help me to improve my capabilities to perform role of admin assistant:
- Technological skills – Now EHR (electronic health records) are used by hospitals and hence I should learn innovative software and ensure that it is appropriate for my organization as whole.
- Strong skills of management – As I am responsible for the effective administration of large team and required to overseeing entire staff daily duties. Thus, I must learn strong organizational and
management skills for keeping all on track as well as to ensure smooth running of my hospital.
- Legal knowledge – Much of the administrator job in hospitals revolve around implementing and understanding of policies related to healthcare. Hence, I must understand the health and social care industry regulations along with its application to different practices of hospital.
- Problem solving skills – I also faced with detail oriented situations and tasks, which called for effective skills to solve problems. Therefore, whether it is a problem with administrative or staff duties, I should be capable to think uniquely and face tasks confidently. With the help of creative and strong problem solving skills I will definitely get success in my career at Care UK.
1.4 How motivational techniques can be used to improve quality of performance
The following theories can be used at Care UK to enhance staff member’s performance quality:
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Harold Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory explains about motivation acceleration through various stages of wants and needs of employee at workplace. The stages of motivation at different level according to this theory are physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization. This theory further states that an employee work towards satisfying higher level stages of needs after fulfilling the lower level of needs. Highest level of needs are self-esteem and actualization, and lower level needs are basic needs like physiological, safety and social. For example, if the manager of Care UK wants from its employees to seek for self-actualization needs, employees may be offered with target based work according to capability and reward them with a promotion or increments if they perform and meet the desired objectives. Care UK also can arrange their entry-level positions of Admin Assistant accordingly to motivate new employees to perform as per the desired expectation and remain loyal to the company. The recommendation would be to rename the title as Admin Officer Trainee (Adsit, 2012).
Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory
Frederick Irving Herzberg proposed the two-factor motivational theory for the workplace. The first factor includes hygiene factors that are responsible to develop dissatisfaction at higher level in employees if these are missing in the Care UK. Hygiene factors explains about working conditions of employees, their position and title in the organization, salary and benefits, stability and security of job and organizational culture. Positive form of these factors create a sense of non-biasness and impartiality within employees. Herzberg's second level of motivational factors comprises of recognition, achievement, personal investment and growth. These factors can motivate employees to accomplish task provide higher level performance at work (Bakosh, 2007). The theory suggest that Care UK should utilize both of these factors. For example, for ensuring the motivation level to increase, the manager may pay the Admin Assistant of Care UK at par with market rates and should praise his performance at work formally and informally to increase sense of recognition and achievement (Craft, 2002).
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2.1 Develop solutions to work-based problems
While working in Care UK I observed that many times administration executives and physicians ask for remote information system along with good security plus easiness. In this regards I was called from my Practice Manager to suggest appropriate solution, so doctors can keep their information safely and use it as and when they required. Moreover, I was asked to find a software with which these physicians can access any information related to their patients on mobile phones or laptops also from home. Therefore, I suggested SSL VPN (Secure Sockets Layer virtual private network) as a best solution to secure remote access of hospital. It is a type of VPN, which operates in SSL technology and can be access through https on web browsers (Administrative Assistant Training Seminars, 2015). The VPN has supported in developing a secured and safe connection systems of remote access available in the unit. The connection were setup in between application layer protocols and transmission control protocol. I particularly advised this, because in several VPN solutions, any device and anywhere remote access is only provided by SSN VPN. Moreover, in the context of hospitals it offers a surgeon to get direct access to results and records of patients available in the systems of healthcare unit. Further, this can be used by them from their places through mobile devices and laptops. The software also allow doctors to schedule their calendar tasks, like keeping appointments reminders and they can access information and data of patients available at system. In addition to this, SSL VPN ensure security and integrity of all data (Core Competencies for a Healthcare Administrator, 2015). Besides, it allows lots of flexibility to physicians in the proper management of their resources. Also, many times in hospital to access remote systems, a dial modems were utilized that was later on realized pricy issue and hence I suggested procedure of allowing access through public internet, which was proved more economical. Accordingly, remote access VPS comprising IP security was utilized to prevent issues like congestion and eavesdropping on internet traffic (Gallagher, 2013).
2.2 Communicate in a variety of styles and appropriate Manner at various levels
Selecting the most effective communication channel was my main aim to maintain quality of communication procedure at workplace, as its ineffectiveness can lead to misunderstanding and conflicts among members. Furthermore, in this case I was required to communicate a completely new and advanced system or technology to all entities that would be involved in the particular process for comprehending them about the use, effectiveness, easiness and benefits of system. In this regards, firstly I used e-mails to send a formal mail to doctors and physicians by including the method of using SSL VPN technology and its aids in their hectic schedule (Guide for Healthcare Administration Majors, 2015). This was resulted in best way to guide doctors about the technology and convincing them to use it in their regular activities. Than to discuss this new system with peers, I made face to face and straight conversation with them. I also positively ask for their feedbacks and suggestions, in order to make the system more workable in the hospital. Hence, as I call for their support they all were actively took their part in implementation and use of new technology in daily operations. Moreover, this informal and friendly conversation helped me to find out negative thoughts of some of my peers and their queries was perfectly sorted through elaborating the benefits or easiness of particular system practically by applying in their routines tasks to call doctors for different patient appointments and keeping records of patients prescriptions to be presented to physicians when required (Hicks, 2015).
2.3 Effective time-management strategies
Effective management of time is significant for coping with modern life pressures without experiencing excessive stress. In this regard, the following strategies will be used by me to manage my overall work and to complete it in required time period:
Work out on objectives – At the very first step I will find answer of several questions, like what I want to become, my priorities and what I want to get in my person life plus career. This will guide me to spend and manage my time on important activities. Based on this, I will also design some long and short term goals with fix time period to achieve (Kelchner, 2015).
Make list – The common mistake of time management is due to overload of information. Hence, to take better control of projects and stay organized I will jot down all working schedule in a list to complete activated in sequence and on time as well (Vincent, 2011).
- Important task prioritization – I will group my whole activities and tasks in four categories on daily basis while beginning my working day at front desk counter of Care UK. The categories will be:
- Important and urgent;
- Not urgent but essential;
- Urgent but not much important;
- Neither important not urgent (Agha, 2001).
3.1 Tools and methods for developing solutions to problems
There are so many standard ways of problem solving tools and methods available to develop solutions and to resolve issues. Hence, selection of appropriate tool becomes crucial and it depends upon the particular problem that needs to be considered. Moreover, prioritization of problems among various issues is also essential which suggest which issues are required to deal first. Care UK can pick any tools from the following strategies of problem solving subject to the nature and level of difficulty of the dispute (Billett, 2000). The list is pasted below:
- TQM tool
- 5 step approach – Identification, planning, solution selection, working, measuring
- 5 whys and 2 How’s
- Fishbone diagram also known as Cause and Effect
- FMEA – failure mode effects analysis
- Eight discipline problem solving
- Six sigma tools
- Lean manufacturing principals
- Process maps
- Statistical process control
- Kepner Tregoe problem solving
- Pareto and trend charts
- Consensus decision making
Here, five step approach and TQM tool is explained in the context of Care UK:
TQM Tools: Total quality management deals with controlling the quality of whole organization, which results in excellent production of services and products which meets customer demands and expectation at great level (Cronenwett and et.al., 2007). TQM has two basic objectives at operational level:
- To flawlessly design products or services up to the ideal level;
- To ensure that the organization’s operating systems and procedures are capable of constantly and reliably produce the desired standard of products or services.
5 step approach: Generally, organizations practise this method to speedily realize and define the problem on the way and to develop innovative solutions to resolve them in effective manner. The five steps are –
- Identify the problem;
- Identify the origin of the problem;
- Devising and selecting a solution;
- Exercise the solution;
- Evaluate the results (Keashly and et.al., 2011).
Any industry, company or sector can exercise above techniques to resolve problems. It can be observed that the underlying approach to eliminate the problem remains same which is all about to identify the problem and its root causes, come up with appropriate solution, and to successfully work out the solution strategy to overcome the issues. However, it is also important to select which methodology to be exercised for an appropriate strategy. At present, Care UK is facing call volumes spikes problem with its helpdesk. One may go ahead with TQM or Six sigma and such reengineering tools but in this case of organization, “solution engineering” is required, where a new process is needed to be created to handle current obstacles (Lorraine, Pamela and Peter, 2014).
3.2 Appropriate strategy for resolving a particular problem
The call volumes spikes at front desk or helpdesk counter are not exceptional. Hence, the standard approach must be utilized for attending queries or enquiries of patients as well as to provide effective services. But, such a high volume of enquiries often leads to dissatisfaction of callers and system jam. This deviance from standard procedure is a main issue for admin staff of organization (Macan, 1994). Hence, the following five step approach of problem solving seems identical for determining and eliminating main reasons of existing issue:
Problem identification – With the growing diseases and needs of best or quality health services, patients are demanding quick response to their queries also more effectively. The Care UK have dedicated team of 2 to 3 members for every patient, then too they are unable to resolve large number of patient enquiries in appropriate time.
Root cause of problem – The credibility of Care UK front desk is based on best utilization of adequate resources. The hospital staff is not able to use available resources in an effective manner, which leads to delays while responding to rising queries of patients. Moreover, it is suggested by graphical representation of call volumes that increasing number of client service enquiry to front desk is to request common information and to ask open calls status, etc (Pals, 2001).
Appropriate solution selection – By making adequate use of self-service tool, the helpdesk system can make effective utilization of its available resources. The call handling software can be used by Care UK that would support in redirection of calls as well as call management. The website of healthcare can also have a section of FAQs where frequent queries along with its resolution could be posted that will directly reduce the call handling workload. When patients have access to tools of self-service, low priority and large volume service requests could be tackled at a good speed and resources of organization can be diverted to high concern areas (Puccio and etl.al., 2006).
Work the strategy – A catalogue of services or treatments available at hospital can be provided to clients via web portal for giving them right services in needed time for their satisfaction. Self-service via online can also support in enhancing overall service quality to patients and it will lessen the obligation of client queries at first place. Hence, it is vital to push clients to the portal for information and manual broadcasting.
Effects measurement – For the reason to measure the self-service portal benefits, it is significant to access if it has potential or credibility to become first contact point for clients to access their needed information (Rothwell and Arnold, 2007).
3.3 Potential impact on the business of implementing the strategy
The above mentioned powerful web portal of self-service in long run will facilitate the streamline and automation of front desk services of Care UK. It will also add to the overall effectiveness and productivity of hospital. Moreover, it will support in lessening unproductive time through removing situations that would lead to conflict at workplace. By better engagement and management of staff in incidents of high priority, the organization can improve care and safety of patient. Furthermore, the online self-service will aid in convenience of both doctors and patients of hospital (Woodley and Sims, 2011).
The above paper concludes that a significant quality for admin assistant to work in health and social care is dynamism. An individual must have capabilities to adopt with growing complexities of healthcare services and should be able to complete his/her activities in proper time period. Moreover, the admin assistant is first who face all queries of patients and required to maintain a record and hence should possess communication and time management skills to match doctor’s schedule with patient appointments. Also, the front desk staff is needed to build an effective coordination with others at workplace to improve performance quality in healthcare.
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