By: Sharon Brunecz

Chief Human Resources Officer, US Acute Care Solutions

In a recent post on FemInEM, my colleague, Dr. Patsy McNeil, laid out a vision for US Acute Care Solutions (USACS) to be the employer of choice for women in emergency medicine. It’s one thing to say it, to build a brand around the idea of attracting women to our practice. It’s something else entirely to build the culture that defines a destination employer.

That’s my role as Chief Human Resources Officer.

We are starting with some quick wins having unanimous support from leadership and our Board to invest in enhancing our benefit offerings for new parents by introducing a childcare leave policy. We are exploring many other family-friendly policies and programs to be introduced later this year.

This is just the start. The real goal is becoming equally invested in our clinicians’ careers. We’re creating an environment for women clinicians to reach their full career potential.

This is another primary focus of the USACS Diversity and Inclusion Council that has termed this effort Creating Career Pathways.

USACS aims to jumpstart career growth on day one, beginning with new attendings being assigned a mentor. We want to build connections and accelerate success for our new hires. We all know how that first year can feel like a make or break time in a physician’s career. The role of a mentor at USACS will be that of a traditional confidant, but more importantly, the mentor will serve as a networker and coach. Early in a physician’s time with our company a mentor can help establish a career plan that lines up with other obligations, be they clinical interests, family plans, additional schooling or getting settled in a new geography.

Following that, we’re adjusting our company’s job posting policy. We are committed to posting every opening. It may seem like a small thing, but we’ve all been in a situation where we’ve seen a job filled without knowing such a position was ever available. This limits others in the organization from expressing a desire for advancement. Posting is a great way to get managers to engage in individual conversations about one’s aspirations and development opportunities.

Great cultures are the result of great managers. As such, we’re investing significantly in manager education to provide our people with the tools they need to skillfully lead diverse teams and create inclusive environments. We know through available research that there’s a measurable business benefit to diverse work teams, but only when inclusiveness and individuality coexist with respect and trust. This is what our education programs will tackle, from recognizing biases to navigating diversity tension to leveraging the strength of everyone on the team.

Finally, we have just expanded our Board to add our first independent director. Cheryl Pegus MD, MPH, has joined the company’s board of directors. Women are on the front lines of leadership, innovation and novel approaches to both patient care and business operations at USACS.

This all amounts to an organization dedicated to serving its people, just as we serve our patients. And we’ve only just begun. Leadership is involved, supportive and motivated to implement the policies and invest long term in that which truly defines the culture of a destination employer!