Job Title: Service Supervisor At A Health Care Software Company
Type of Company: My company creates and supports an integrated health care software system utilized in hospitals, clinics, and office practices. We are always evolving to meet the needs of the changing health care environment and technologies.
Education: BA, Theatre, Brandeis University
Previous Experience: I started work after college as a stage manager for a professional theater company. When I decided to change to a more stable career, the company I work for did not have a requirement of a health care background so I applied and was accepted. I worked in the Service division as an applications specialist for three years before being promoted to supervisor.
Job Tasks: One of the best things about my job is that there are lots of different responsibilities. As part of the service division of my company, I have to ensure my group is providing good customer service. This can involve running reports to make sure issues are being responded to in appropriate time frames, reviewing responses to customers for accuracy and appropriateness, and initiating training projects to instruct our clients on new functionality. I am also responsible for helping resolve urgent issues as quickly as possible. I don't directly support accounts, but I use my experience to assist my group in resolving problems, either by guiding them in a direction or answering when they are behind. I am responsible for making sure that customer input is funneled by our development group. I work with our product development group to enhance the software and fix bugs, as well as programmers to deliver fixes to our clients. When new functionality becomes available, I have been able to present it to customers in seminars, both in person and online.
I conduct conference calls throughout the day to hear customer issues or initiate projects to utilize new functionality.
In addition, I am responsible as a supervisor for conducting regular meetings with my staff to monitor their progress and develop goals for achievement. I also write staff evaluations annually, or more frequently during the first two years of someone's tenure.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is being able to help my staff develop their careers. I enjoy meeting with them to discuss goals and evaluating their performance. I have had to deal with staff members who are under-performing and who are not a good fit for the position. These are not easy meetings to have or evaluations to write, but the result has been that I know I did everything possible to help make things work before the person either found a different position or was able to improve his performance.
The worst part of my job is the stress. Since we support software for health care, our customers are concerned with both providing the best care to their patients and the bottom line: return on their investments. When problems arise everyone wants them fixed yesterday. Meeting deadlines for resolving issues when I am not able to code the software myself is difficult. I have had to learn how to diffuse high pressure situations and become comfortable stating I don't know an answer, but I'll do my best to figure it out.
1. Be open to something outside of what you went to school for. I never expected to enjoy working in an office job, but it has worked out very well. The techniques I learned stage managing theater have helped me organize my day and work well with people from various backgrounds.
2. Talk to the people who actually do the job! If you are interested in a position, talk to someone doing who's already in the job. You are likely to get a better sense of what the job is all about.
3. Read up! I do not have a background in healthcare or software, but my dad co-owns a small software company so I at least knew some of the customer service struggles I would be faced with. If pursuing a career in healthcare, search for articles on the internet about what's going on in the world of healthcare today.
Additional Thoughts: One of the things that I think is important when considering a career is where you want your life to go. My company does not offer a starting salary that matches other companies, or even IT staff at a hospital. What it does offer is an environment geared towards longevity. They want you to be able to work there for the rest of your life and have created a bonus program that reflects this. Although the salaries might not be the same as I could make somewhere else, the longer I stay, the better my bonus gets, and within six years I ended up making the same amount as if I had switched to working at a hospital after two. And I don't worry about being laid off. I was able to adjust my hours when I had a family. And I have internal transfer options if I decide I need to change directions but not want to change companies.
I left doing theater in order to have a schedule that better fit my family life. It was important to me to make sure my career fit within the life I wanted. I think that it's very important to keep that in mind with any career decision.
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