USACS Scholars Program About More Than Training Leaders

Here’s a little secret about the Scholars Program from National Director of Scholars Dr. John Casey, one of its core faculty: the Scholars Program isn’t just for the scholars.

Every year, a group of about 30 physicians and APPs go through the program, which is ostensibly designed for USACS clinicians interested in moving into leadership positions throughout the company. But the real benefits, as Casey said at a recent scholars session in Canton, are for the sites themselves, and ultimately for our patients.

“If there’s someone on your team that has done it, it will benefit you,” he said.

The Scholars Program focuses on helping USACS physicians develop in four areas. Each of these are developed within the context of furthering USACS’ culture and core mission to care for patients:

1. Self-awareness

The program helps clinicians develop self-awareness about their personal leadership styles, and how their particular personality traits can impact their interactions with peers and patients alike. The program not only helps the scholars understand how they process problems and approach communication, but it helps train them to recognize how others do as well.

2. Efficiency & Work Habits

Scholars learn “how to mobilize throughout their day,” including all the myriad tasks that come with being a clinician in today’s hyper-connected, always-on culture. The course covers taking in emails and communications, and handling complaints, concerns, and questions from team members, then processing them in a way that still leaves room for work-life balance.

3. Administrative

Scholars dig into the nitty gritty of leadership within the company, including preparing them not just for director positions within the ED but also for missions beyond that, whether functioning as members of the National Clinical Governance Board or as members of the executive or senior leadership team. The scholars “learn how our company has grown to make sure that people understand how the company is structured both for themselves, but also how to relate that back to their peers,” Casey said.

4. Service

The final component of the program gets scholars involved in a major company initiative that USACS is trying to get off the ground, whether it’s becoming more engaged with political advocacy or improving a recruiting and retention program.

A conduit for two-way communication

Ultimately, Casey said, the scholars program is about much more than training future leaders for USACS. To begin with, scholars have often brought important problems – as well as innovative solutions – from their local sites to the attention of their peers and leadership in Canton.

“You bring [the problems] to a group of 30 or so of your peers and some faculty who have really good experience in working these issues, you share those problems, you start developing solutions, and you see how that process works,” Casey said.

The program is also a way for USACS to expose a large swathe of clinicians to senior leadership and to the ideas and culture of the company. Scholars can then return to their sites and give their peers a direct link back to USACS senior leadership.

“Regardless of whether you assume a title role within the company, you have a provider who is so much more capable of helping the local site function better,” Casey added.

The final goal is, of course, to provide the tools and resources to help each of our sites further our mission of caring for patients. The program does that not just by training future leaders, but but by improving the sharing of ideas throughout the company, providing a more direct pathway for two-way communication between local sites and senior clinical leaders, and giving a large group of clinicians training that they can then take back to their departments to help them to continually improve patient care.