Once again it is spring and graduation is on our minds. As we watch our students cross the stage with pride and teary eyes, we know we have prepared them with coursework, teamwork, case studies, role-play, simulations, and fieldwork experiences. Their healthcare management competencies have been assessed repeatedly throughout the program, and they have sent dozens of applications off to prospective employers. Employers will use many ways to assess our graduates from computer analyses of resumes to situational interviewing. But are they the right employers? Will it be a good fit for them?
As older, more experienced educators and managers, we have years of good and bad interviews to inform our choices. We know what questions to ask, as well as how to probe for additional information when something seems off. I once interviewed for a position and asked several questions that the person I would have been reporting to should have known. His responses, (“I don’t know”) gave me pause. He also made a point of telling me not to expect to make any changes. “Everything is fine the way it is.” Red flags, anyone? Needless to say, I withdrew my application. Knowing how difficult it can be to find the “perfect” job, what can we do to help our students avoid some painful job experiences and develop a homing beacon for the best fit for them? One way to do this is to have them compare their personal code of ethics with the mission, vision, and values of their potential employers.
As part of our legal and ethical issues in healthcare course in our graduate program, students are required to review the ACHE Code of Ethics and then write a reflective paper delineating their own personal code of ethics. The students must indicate why they believe each item in their code is critical to their day to day living and how they will apply this code to their work as a healthcare manager. They must also indicate which principles of ethics are involved in their Personal Code of Ethics and provide peer-reviewed references to support their rationale. The assignment doesn’t stop there. They must retain this document for their portfolio and re-use it during their professional skills development course to complete a goodness of fit assignment.
The goodness of fit assignment requires the students to use the Personal Code of Ethics created earlier in the program and to compare that code with the Mission, Vision, and Values of the organization where they are completing their healthcare management capstone. Students are expected to reflect upon the gaps between the two documents with respect to ethical conduct and to assess whether they are a good fit with the organization with respect to employment. The student must provide a rationale for why it is or is not a good fit.
This past semester, one of my soon to be alumni completed this assignment and found not only was the community hospital where she was placed a good fit, but also she wanted to add their vision statement to her Personal Code of Ethics. She reflected on how important this exercise was to her personally and professionally saying, “This assignment made me critically assess if the organization would be good for me, not just if I would be good for the organization.”
Our students have invested years and money in their education. They deserve to find the best possible job opportunity for themselves upon graduation. Healthcare organizations deserve to find the best candidate for their jobs. As educators, we can help bridge that gap with assignments that hone students’ self-awareness. Like many things in life, from clothing to carpentry, it’s all about the goodness of fit.
Sharon Buchbinder is Professor and Program Coordinator for the MS in Healthcare Management at Stevenson University in the Graduate and Professional School and former chair of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA). She is also the author of three books from Jones and Bartlett: Introduction to Health Care Management (with Nancy H. Shanks), Career Opportunities in Health Care Management (with Jon Thompson) and Cases in Health Care Management (with Nancy H. Shanks and Dale Buchbinder).
Here are some resources if you are interested in this topic
American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). (November 14, 2011). http://www.ache.org/ABT_ACHE/code.cfm
Cherniss, C. (2009). The business case for emotional intelligence
Gutierrez, A. P., Candela, L. L., & Carver, L. (2012). The structural relationships between organizational commitment, global job satisfaction, developmental experiences, work values, organizational support, and person-organization fit among nursing faculty. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 68(7), 1601-1614. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2012.05990.x
Kim, T., & Kim, M. (2013). Leaders’ moral competence and employee outcomes: The effects of psychological empowerment and person-supervisor fit. Journal Of Business Ethics, 112(1), 155-166. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1238-1
Lee Endres, M., Camp, R., & Milner, M. (2011, Spring). Comparing employment interviewing questioning techniques as reflective methods in the management educational assessment process. Journal Of The Academy Of Business Education, 12: 1-16.
Seijts, G. H., & Kyei-Poku, I. (2010). The role of situational interviews in fostering positive reactions to selection decisions. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 59(3), 431-453. doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.2009.00406.x
The Consortium on Research for Emotional Intelligence in Organizations. (2009) The Emotional Competence Framework