Planning Proficiency: Coordinator Training for Lifelong Learning

 Authors: Cynthia Gomez, MHA &
 Viktor LaPorte, MBA


Throughout the years, a Graduate Medical Education (GME) Program Coordinator (PC) evolved from an entry-level position of administrative secretary or clerk to a higher-level leadership position of the program administrator. Due to this evolution, this role requires extensive training, so PCs can learn about and assimilate to a profession that necessitates a combination of compliance with accrediting body requirements, flexibility to adapt, and
a collaborative approach to liaising between trainees, programs, institutional leadership, and outside entities.

The GME academic calendar's cyclical nature allows for PC training to be easy to predict and schedule. GME office personnel responsible for the onboarding and training of new PCs will need to plan training during a candidate interview process. This planning is dependent on the amount of prior GME experience the PC candidate possesses if any.  A PC candidate with GME experience who is new to the institution will most likely only need training on the institution-specific processes and protocols. A PC candidate with little to no GME experience will require more extensive training. However, training does not need to be limited to new PCs at the time of hire. Rather, all PCs' continuous professional development within the GME community should be made available at all institutions.

Planning PC training depends on where the training is needed on the academic calendar and the level of knowledge held by the new PC. For example, a new institutional PC with prior GME knowledge that begins the August role will require information regarding the institutional contacts needed to update the program's website and coordinate recruitment season tasks and activities for the upcoming recruitment season. But a new institutional PC, with no prior experience, will need more in-depth training regarding what is recruitment, the importance of recruitment, different types of recruitment (residency and fellowship), platforms required for recruitment (ERAS, NRMP, FREIDA, GME Track, etc.), the interview day process and submission of the rank order list. This collaborative, in-depth training can be provided by GME office personnel, the program director, and a possible, more seasoned mentor identified by the GME office to be a good role model.

PC training should not be limited to gaining new knowledge but should include process improvement and professional development. This can occur with planning using the academic calendar as a guide. The GME office can determine what task areas PCs need improvement in and develop a training session during 'lulls' within the academic year. The training sessions should be interactive and include clear goals of anticipated outcomes. Additionally, PCs should be provided with professional development that includes communication skills, conflict resolution, administrative tips, etc.  This inexpensive and collaborative training can ensure that programs and institutions operate their GME programs with the highest quality and excellence.

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