Onboarding and Post-Fellowship Transition

Onboarding

As with any new addition to an organization, the onboarding process is important to a successful start. Minimally, administrative fellows should undergo the same orientation program as other new employees. At one organization, following a normal two day new employee orientation, the fellow spends a full day with the preceptor to set a communication schedule and discuss fellowship program priorities and objectives. Then during the first two-months of the administrative fellowship program, fellows have one-on-one informational interviews with members from senior leadership.

You can also develop a fellowship onboarding tool. This document can include the hospital's vision, mission, value statement and service standards, as well as an organizational chart and administrative council biographies and pictures. It also can include meeting schedules and examples of how to structure the agenda and project updates for weekly meetings with the fellow's preceptor. At many organizations, an incoming fellow also may receive a resource binder that has been prepared by the outgoing fellow.

Post-Fellowship Transition

One aspect of planning a fellowship involves the decision of whether to consider offering a fellow a more permanent management position at the conclusion of the fellowship. Prior to recruiting it should be decided whether staying with the organization will be possible. Some organizations view administrative fellowships as an opportunity to cultivate future management talent, whereas others view their involvement solely as a commitment to help develop new entrants to the profession and expect the fellow to look elsewhere at the conclusion of the fellowship.

Even if the organization has decided that a fellowship could lead to a more permanent position, doing so still would be based on the performance of the fellow and the availability of an appropriate opening. There never is a promise of a post-fellowship position. For fellows leaving the organization, the preceptor can be expected to provide advice, coaching and contacts, but responsibility for obtaining the next position is generally considered an important component of the fellow’s own professional development and not specifically supported by the organization.

A final consideration is how to celebrate successful completion of the fellowship. Completion of a fellowship represents an important stage in the individual's development as a healthcare management professional. The individual has transitioned from academic preparation to experiential learning as a fellow and then to readiness to be a full-fledged member of the profession. Organizations may use a combination of a capstone project presentation, formal recognition and/or social activities to help celebrate that transition and the end of the fellowship.