William Morice, II, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology (DLMP) at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and President of Mayo Medical Laboratories (MML), sits down with Bobbi Pritt, M.D., Vice Chair of Education, Director of the Clinical Parasitology Lab, and Co-Director of Vector-Borne Diseases Lab Services in DLMP. Dr. Pritt discusses what's going on with education in the department. Connect with Dr. Morice on Twitter @moricemdphd to let him know what you would like to hear next.
Dr. William Morice, II: Hi, Everybody, Dr. Morice, your friendly neighborhood department chair of DLMP here in Rochester, Minnesota, back again with Dr. Pritt to talk to her about some of the really exciting educational activities that are actually being led by her group here in DLMP. But first, on the innovative side, I know that you have been invested with new supervisors, and you know when people have to assume a leadership role, again, it can be almost more challenging in some respects when it is some place where you ascend through the ranks because people know you in one role and then you have to assume another. So, maybe you could talk a little bit about what you and your team have been doing with new supervisors in our department to kind of get them oriented and getting them with some mentorship and things like that.
Bobbi Pritt, M.D.: Yes, absolutely, Bill, and I am glad you mentioned my team because I wanted to make sure I really talk about them. They are the drivers with all of this. We are very fortunate. We have two program managers who are doctoral-level educators. They have done their specialty studies in adult education, and we have a whole education office just with incredible expertise in this area, and so it is a team effort putting this all together. And so, with new supervisors, that is one of our new programs that we have brought on over the past two years. Jeff Harden is the program manager for that, and we realized that, like new consultants where you are basically given keys to an office and then a stack of slides, or whatever you are going to be doing, the supervisors did not have a formal onboarding program either. So, Jeff and I worked together with other members of our team to really put together a formal, one-year onboarding program. It is a little different than the new consultants, which is just a week-long orientation for new supervisors. This is actually a one-year, monthly check-in, onboarding program with a mentor, and it is a mentor who is an experienced supervisor outside of that division, so you get an outside perspective. There are some reading assignments, there are some face-to-face activities, there are times where we all sit down together as a group, so it is a really structured program, and it has been really successful. It has been so successful that our supervisors asked if we could extend it to our assistant supervisors.
BP: And, then our quality specialists said, "Hey, can we do this for quality specialists? So, we are expanding now. We are going to have education specialists and quality specialists. We have already started the assistant supervisor onboarding, so we want to just continue that so that it is not just showing up and learning on the job, that there is some discussion and a science or a methodology behind things and then assigning them a mentor so they can really bounce ideas off of them—How would you handle this difficult situation?—questions like that.
WM: That is so fantastic. I mean, it is a way to support people that step into leadership roles at the allied health staff level. I mean, as you know, it is not an easy thing to do at all, and also, it really helps not just those individuals but the entire work groups that they lead because there is a lot of good work that was done by Dr. Tate Shanafelt before he left, even to show that in any work unit, avoiding burnout and achieving job satisfaction is very much predicated on the group leader and his or her ability to connect with the staff. So, I am so pleased and just honored to be in a department that has someone like you and your team who are thinking about these sorts of things and doing this for our staff. The other thing you do is you do stuff that is fun because you are a fun person and I love that, and so maybe you could talk a little bit about the Red Apple Awards.
BP: Oh, yes, well again, that is something that really is led by my team, and we have a special curriculum for educators, and it is a multi-topic course that can be done in one day if people have the time. And then, the educators who do this—it is mostly education specialists—do a project, and they have to present that project. Then, they get to stand up and receive an award, and one of us dresses up in a big red apple suit. So far, I have been able to get out of dressing up like an apple, but I would be willing to do it if I had to, and we get a picture taken, and then it gets posted on our website, and we share the information with the supervisor to really build that awareness. That is one of my real goals is to build awareness of what our educators do. So, the Red Apple Award is just part of that. We want to raise awareness for all of our education specialists, our consultants participating in education, to really just make sure that everyone knows it is something that we are putting a lot of effort in. It really is one of those three shields that is essential to our department.
WM: Yeah, and it shows for sure. The efforts that you make are very tangible, and so, again, I just really thank you for that. I guess, in closing, what if someone is listening to this—either an allied health employee or physician/scientist—and says, "Gosh, Dr. Pritt is so cool. I really want to get involved with education." Should that person reach out to you?
BP: Yes, they could reach out to me at email@example.com. They could reach out to Carrie Bowler at firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jeff Harden at email@example.com) who are our two program managers, or they could reach out to Sue Dunemann at firstname.lastname@example.org who is my operational partner.
WM: And so, any closing thoughts, things that we missed, should have touched on that we did not?
BP: No, I think, just always keeping educating, everyone you are interacting with, you have that opportunity to mentor them, to be an educator, and it could even be your colleagues because there is a lot of mentorship opportunities there as well.
WM: Yes, well, on behalf of the department, I just want to thank you because just the administrative work around education has really grown. You, your team, the program directors, I mean, have all really stepped up to make that, just like everything at Mayo Clinic, kind of make it as manageable as possible. And not only that, but your efforts really enrich the entire department and the institution in ways that people who are not involved in education might not really know. So, I hope everyone gets a chance to listen to this podcast and that people want to get involved. Thank you very much.
BP: Thank you, Bill.