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Physicians, APs: Get a Read on an Organization’s Culture before Accepting a Job

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Culture. It’s impossible to talk about it enough. After interviewing dozens, if not hundreds of healthcare leaders, I can tell you that an organization largely rises and falls based on its culture.

A productive, nurturing culture that views its employees as team members and its physicians as collaborative partners is one in which you should be able to thrive and remain invigorated about your position, no matter what is going on politically, economically, and professionally.

Here’s a brief profile of an organization that readily admits to being innovative and progressive because of the workplace culture it has cultivated:

In 1979, Heritage Provider Network, which is headquartered in Marina del Rey, Calif., invented the concept of hospitalists. The network introduced interdisciplinary teams, now known as collaborative medicine, in 1982.

This anticipation of the future continues to guide HPN’s myriad endeavors and its persistence in forming alliances with the foremost institutions in the country.

For example, Dr. Merkin, whom I interviewed earlier this year, established The Richard Merkin Foundation for Stem Cell Research at the Broad Institute at Harvard and MIT. At UCLA, he established The Richard Merkin Foundation for Neural Regeneration, and at the Johns Hopkins Brain Sciences Institute, he implemented The Richard Merkin Initiative. Nearly a decade ago, he endowed the Richard Merkin Distinguished Fellowship in Emergency and Tropical Medicine in the Division of Internal Medicine at the Keck School. On June 30, HPN backed a new professorship at USC for regenerative medicine.

The success of the Heritage Health Prize, which we covered in a recent blog post, led HPN to co-sponsor a breast-cancer prize with the National Institute of Health and an open-architectural health prize with UCLA.

HPN recently formed a partnership with Trinity Health System to transform its 83 hospitals from volume-based to value-based. Its work with Trinity is rapidly leading to partnerships with other health systems.

The network’s continued breakthroughs and innovation is largely the result of the culture Dr. Merkin has nurtured.

“We’re very careful about acquiring talent,” he said. “We believe in diversity and getting great talent. Talent then attracts talent.”

As physicians and advanced practitioners who are looking for jobs, does the healthcare organization interviewing you seem to have a productive, nurturing culture? What is your first impression of the front-end staff and other employees you meet? Do they seem happy and patient-oriented? Does the atmosphere seem conducive to innovation and progress?

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