The U.S News & World Report ranks the Massachusetts General Hospital as one of the top hospitals in the USA. Several factors inform this ranking. They include a high patient survival rate, a high reputation, and considerable patient safety score among other favorable factors. The hospital is located in Boston (U.S News & World Report, 2012). The Massachusetts General Hospital is the largest in New England, with a capacity of 1,051 beds (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2012). People also commonly refer to the hospital as Mass General.
Mass General doubles as a teaching hospital since it houses the Harvard Medical School, as well as a biomedical research center in Massachusetts. The opening of the Lunder Building makes the facility the largest in New England. It offers a wide variety of health services. The surgery sections operate on an average of 34,000 patients every year, while the obstetrics oversees more than 3,000 births annually. Mass Hospital also handles over 2, 500 trauma patients every year. It is also a world renowned medical research center.
The hospital also offers therapeutic and diagnostic care in almost every field of the medicine and surgery. It has also the most advanced cancer center in the world. Consequently, it is the hospital of choice for most cancer patients. The hospital conducts scientific investigations in its bid to reduce and eliminate the prevalence of cancer in the US in particular, and the whole world in general.
Mass Hospital has a well-structured public relations team. The team has a number of responsibilities to perform. To begin with, members of the team ensure that the hospital has a good name that upholds its reputation among the public. As such, the team is involved in various social corporate responsibility programs. The public relations team also gives advisory services to the members of the public on a wide variety of matters (Beder, 2006). These include education and practices for a healthy living.
The public relations team also serves as a link between the hospital and the outside world. They disseminate information about various services offered by the hospital. This is very important since there are many other hospitals operating in the same area, giving rise to a stiff competition. So, in order to maintain their customers and win new ones, it is crucial to launch various strategies that would help in expanding the market.
Externally, the public relations team interacts with several people. The first are the potential customers seeking health services. These are people who go to the hospital to make enquiries. There are some who enquire through correspondence, either online or by phone. Other members of the public who interact with the public relations team include health officials and government agents in the healthcare sector.
The public relations team also interacts with various people in the internal environment. The public relations team mostly interacts with the employees of the hospital. This is mainly in terms of training new employees, as well as organizing seminars for the existing employees. The team also meets with the management of the hospital so as to be able to lay down the strategies that would ensure the continued success of the hospital.
The Massachusetts General Hospital has a formal public relations plan. There is a well-structured public relations team. The plan entails uplifting the image of the hospital through various ways. First and foremost, it is about ensuring that the best quality healthcare services are offered at the institution. The team is also responsible for the training and orientation of new employees at the hospital.
The public relations team also promotes the organization through an extensive awareness creation campaign. This is accomplished through various programs such as advertising, engaging in charitable activities and participation in environmental management programs among others. It is, therefore, a formal program that the public relations team has created.
The public relations officer was interviewed for the purpose of this paper to have his job description well laid out. He is responsible for the training and orientation of new employees, as well as for organizing information about hospital for public consumption. In addition to this, he also addresses various issues and problems that affect the hospital.
Such issues include negative publicity and the declining number of patients due to stiff competition. He, however, engages in activities that seek to promote the hospital. These include public awareness programs and training and educating of employees on the best practices in the hospital. This makes the employees, especially the new ones, to be efficient in dispensing their duties.
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The role of the public relations officer also involves disaster management. He plays a great role whenever disasters strike in the nation. He is on the front line in giving instruction and guidance on the best course of action to be taken. Nevertheless, he experiences several challenges in the course of his duty.
One of the major challenges that the public relations officer experiences is a backlog. Sometimes, he has too many responsibilities, leaving him with very little time for personal development. Many a time, he has been called upon to work overtime due to a surging interest among patients in the hospital. Sometimes he has to handle so many phone calls and emails such that by the time his day comes to an end, he is too tired to think of anything else. In fact, he has had to deal with the challenge of having very little time with his family.
He has also had difficult time with some clients. There are those who are generally rude and dismissive, yet they need help. He has had to address all their needs, as well as having to bear with their disposition. Another challenge has been the performance of new employees. Sometimes new employees do not perform to the required level, making it necessary for him to retrain them.
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I have learnt that the public relations team plays an integral role in this hospital. This is because it is responsible for the training of new employees, something that is quite important. New employees usually may lack the skills needed in order to meet expectations of a hospital of its caliber. As such, the public relations team plays an important role in the creation and maintenance of strong and effective human resource team in the hospital.
The public relations team is also engaged in disaster management activities. This means that in case of any disaster happening, the team is always on the ground to launch mechanisms that are geared towards rescue and recovery operations. This has completely changed my view of the public relations team in healthcare institutions. This is because I have always thought they only contribute to the creation of positive image of the healthcare institutions.
In a nutshell, a healthcare institution is as successful as its public relations team. The Mass General Hospital has been thriving on the basis of its strong public relations team. The hospital now tops the list of the most effective hospitals in the US.