When I started my first job as a Residency Coordinator, the previous coordinator was able to train me for my first few weeks on the job. As part of that training, she gave me a short timeline of when the major tasks were due. That was my first encounter with a Program Management Guidebook/Manual or as my current supervisor likes to call it, an SOP: Standard Operating Procedure.
By the time I left that job, I had turned that tiny timeline into a robust 16-page document worthy of the name guidebook! I took each major task and wrote out every step needed to complete it; when each step needed to begin, and, the various milestones that must be reached to complete the task.
After breaking down each task, I then listed them in chronological order, and listed when each of those steps needed to be started/completed. Although it is helpful to have a high-level overview of various tasks or seasons, it is equally important to note the nitty-gritty detail. This way you can be efficient year to year and be assured that none of the fine detail items are overlooked.
As residency managers, we should start prepping for Interview Season about ten months before it begins. As an example, here is what my interview season task looks like:
Task: Interview Season Interview dates are typically in November and December (check ERAS calendar for deadlines: http://www.nrmp.org/match-calendars/
Step 1: Feb/March - Choose interview dates, making sure to check dates with Program Director, APD(s) and Chair. Step 2: March - Book conference rooms & Identify faculty interviewers Step 3: Mid-April - send out save the dates to faculty interviewers Step 4…
Having a Guidebook, Manual, SOP, whatever you wish to call it, is extremely important. We do tasks annually, so it’s possible that by the time the next year rolls around we might forget how we did something the previous year, or forget a critical step in the process and miss a deadline!
You can create your document to be as extensive, or as basic, as you like. It’s completely up to you how much detail goes into it. The purpose of creating this document is to help YOU to minimize errors and increase productivity by not having to reinvent the wheel each time. It has helped me tremendously in staying organized and on target, and even relieved some of my stress because I’m not worried about potentially missed items or tasks.
There is also the bonus of having a written record of what needs to get done and when it needs to be completed, if you have to take an unexpected leave or if that perfect job finally falls into your lap you'll be ready to leave without worries.
Here are some examples of Program Coordinator manuals that can be found on the internet, if you have any other resources that you use please share with us in the comments section below!
East Tennessee State University – Residency/Fellowship Program Coordinator Manual https://www.etsu.edu/com/gme/documents/coordinatorshandbook.pdf
Vanderbilt University – Program Coordinator Manual https://prd-medweb-cdn.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/gme/files/Coordinator's%20Manual.pdf
UT Health Science Center – Program Coordinator’s Handbook http://uthscsa.edu/gme/documents/ProgramCoordinatorHandbook.pdf
Association of Pediatric Program Coordinator - Program Coordinator’s Handbook https://www.appd.org/ed_res/Handbooks/APPD_Coordinators_Handbook_2015.pdf
Loma Linda University - Program Coordinator Handbook https://lluh.org/sites/medical-center.lomalindahealth.org/files/docs/gme/program-coordinators-handbook.pdf?rsource=medical-center.lomalindahealth.org/health-professionals/graduate-medical-education/program-directors-coordinators/coordinator-handbook