Business Leader Series: Patricia Samra, Baystate Health

Patricia Samra is the Senior Director of Talent Acquisition and Workforce Planning at Baystate Health and a new leader in designing and implementing the CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development AcademyRecognized as one of CareerSTAT’s first Emerging Champions, Baystate is in the unique position of both delivering technical assistance and participating in the Academy at the same time. Patricia has been vital in assisting Baystate to lead the Healthcare Workforce Partnership of Western Massachusetts and is using that experience to help Academy participants develop successful and innovative industry partnerships and career development programs.
The following conversation with Patricia Samra was edited lightly and published in full.

Baystate Health has been a key leader in developing CareerSTAT’s Healthcare Workforce Development Academy and delivering technical assistance to the participating organizations. Why is peer-learning so important and what drives you to share your successes, challenges and lessons with your peers?

Peer learning is so meaningful to me because you get to share your successes and challenges with those who truly have walked a day in your shoes.  Every exchange I have had with peers has resulted in me learning some great tip and sharing one of my own.

How has participating in CareerSTAT and the development of the Academy impacted Baystate Health? Have you learned about new approaches or seen your efforts in a different light as a result?

Our experience in CareerSTAT has been wonderful.  This experience has helped us progress in many ways.  Working with a group of peer organizations helps you stay the course and you get the benefits of learning from the experiences of those peers.  It’s always a relief to find out that your challenges are common and most importantly that they are conquerable. This helps keep the positivity alive.

In your opinion, what is Baystate’s formula for sustaining this work? In other words, what are you most excited to share with the CareerSTAT network and spread to other organizations?

Although the progress may be slow at times the small victories matter and help you gain momentum. Some of the progress includes revisions in policy/practice that allow us to waive education/employment background checks of documented refugees for facilitating employment, organization-wide celebration and/or recognition of promotions of frontline workers into clinical and professional roles, the addition of a Career Coach to the Talent Management team, and the recent public recognition BMC received from one of our new CBO for hiring 5 graduates from the Dress for Success program. Examples of small changes and progress like these show we are impacting the operations.

For healthcare organizations not currently involved in CareerSTAT, what can they learn from joining and participating?

Just this week I connected with an executive from a healthcare system in Maine.  She asked me how to get started with workforce development and planning initiatives for her organization. I immediately directed her to CareerSTAT to begin exploring how to invest in their incumbent frontline workers. Workforce development starts within your institution by supporting the development of those already engaged and loyal to your organization.  This internal upward mobility makes room for those in your community looking for entry-level employment. This focus on internal incumbents is more easily adopted by organizational leaders and a great place to start workforce development strategies.