PR managers and hospital staff don’t always see eye to eye—that’s no secret. If you’re just starting a new position, however, earning the respect you deserve can be more difficult. Developing a set of core skills will help you project a strong first impression that will win over the toughest of critics.
Here are ten ways to do that:
1. Be transparent
Don’t keep your goals a secret. Make the workforce aware of what you’re trying to achieve, along with the policies and procedures that will help you reach that end. Communicate your ideas and intentions, and be forthcoming in meetings with administrators.
2. Dress for success
Your physical appearance carries surprising weight in how people perceive you. Studies have shown that people who wear flattering attire are considered to be successful, likeable and easier to respect. The same is true of other aspects of your personal appearance, including dental and physical hygiene as well as well-groomed hair and nails.
3. Practice good time management
It’s difficult to develop relationships with hospital staffers if you’re too busy to associate with them. Good time management is the key to greater respect. It will help you stick to your commitments, meet your deadlines, keep people up to date and still have time to interact with staff and patients.
4. Show accountability
Mistakes happen—on your part and on the part of the staff. It’s your job to smooth things over. Recognize when you’ve made a mistake. Humble yourself and learn from the situation. Work with hospital staffers, not against them. Handle physician mistakes with transparency and compassion. Apologize to the patients and mitigate risk. Remember that you and the health care providers you serve are on the same team.
5. Lead by example
You can’t instruct hospital staff on handling the news media if you hide behind closed doors. Collaborate with staff members, increase communication and create better working relationships. The staff will be pleased with your effort, and appreciation for public relations will increase in the workplace.
6. Stay informed
Subscribe to blogs and journals that will keep you updated on the latest regulations, policy updates, PR practices and your role in all of it. It’s hard to earn respect from the staff if you don’t have helpful knowledge to contribute.
7. Interact with patients
You’ll learn a lot more about hospital staff and patient perceptions if you walk the floor and spend time with patients. You will witness the daily demands placed on your staff. Solicit patient feedback., ask patients about their level of care and observe the staff working with these patients . The information you discover can be crucial to handling complaints and other public relations needs.
8. Offer respect
Never forget the two-way nature of respect. It’s very difficult to earn the respect of someone whom you don’t respect in return. You’ll handle a lot of the negative press surrounding your hospital, so it’s easy to think negatively about staff members. However, don’t forget about their successes. As you develop your understanding and appreciation of the staff, you’ll earn recognition and respect as well.
9. Value cultural differences
Diversity is incredibly common in the medical industry. You may have physicians and patients from all over the world in your hospital. Acknowledge and celebrate the cultural differences among the staff in your communication efforts.
10. Commit to professional development
The staff you work with will be committed to professional development through training, seminars and more. Seek the same level of development for yourself to keep your knowledge up to date. If you recognize a weakness, work to improve it. As you establish your expertise and lead by example, hospital staff will come to respect you despite any conflicts of interest.