March 11, 2005

Career advancement path created for patient services representatives

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Career advancement path created for patient services representatives

There are 306 patient services representatives employed by Vanderbilt Medical Group. They enter outpatient charges and play a large role in customer service — scheduling appointments, welcoming patients and families to their clinic appointments, seeing them off afterwards.

VMG recently created a career advancement path for these representatives, or PSRs. “The program is intended to promote customer service expertise, leadership, and mastery of systems,” said Racy P. Peters, director of common systems for VMG. Vanderbilt PSRs helped design the program, she said. A desire to bolster recruitment and retention supplied the catalyst for the job advancement program, Peters said.

The advancement path — PSR I, PSR II, PSR III — is one of increasing responsibility and salary, allowing staff to further their careers while staying at clinic front desks. The middle point of the PSR I salary range is $11.82 per hour, while the middle point for PSR III is $13.04. PSRs get a 3 percent pay raise each time they gain a job level.

Advancement involves evaluation of customer service skills, independent study, systems proficiency tests and completion of on-line and in-service training. Staff who embark on the advancement path receive assistance from Peters and other leaders who have signed on as mentors.

Rita W. Burchett of VMG's Hillsboro Medical Group recently advanced to PSR II.

“I feel I've gained knowledge and brought up my performance,” she said. “I think that staff who are entering the program will find that manager support is the most important element for success. You also have to be self-motivated to follow through with it.”

Staff morale will benefit from the program, Burchett said, because “people who do it will find they have a greater sense of worth.” She hopes to advance to PSR III in March.

The program started with announcements and presentations which targeted PSRs and their managers. A Web site,, provides all the details of the program.