Competencies of a Programs Specialist
Competency 1: Knowledge of healthcare delivery and VA medical center regulations, policies, and procedures
The Programs Specialist is an essential position in the Sterile Processing Services department. The incumbent needs to have a thorough knowledge of the healthcare delivery system as well as the VA medical center regulations, policies and procedures. This implies that the holder of the position should be familiar with the VA Handbooks as well as how the current health laws affect the administration of healthcare to the veterans. The VHA is dedicated to providing quality medical services to the veterans in our country as well as the spouses and children of these veterans. The medical needs of the men and women who protect this great nation are given priority through the VHA programs. Precise knowledge of the information contained in the VHA handbooks is essential as the handbooks provide guidelines on various sterile processing services as they apply to veteran affairs and health care. The successful candidate will also have to demonstrate a clear understanding of how the general health care delivery system runs. The position entails identifying the problems that are specific to healthcare delivery in the VA system.
With my knowledge of the VA system, I am well equipped to analyze the problems presented in the VA system. I am also inept to come up with specific solutions to solve these problems. I am also capable of effectively managing the many missions involved in the VA system, as well as the conflicts that might arise due to the limited funds and ever-increasing program requirements. In addition, my expansive knowledge on the VA directives will guide me in guiding other staff members on the same directives to ensure complete customer satisfaction and increased departmental efficiency. With all the experience that I have been able to garner as a health administrator, I believe I am capable of accurately informing the Associate Director for Patient Care Services, his deputy and the executive assistant for CPO on the new developments concerning health care delivery and some of the challenges that health care delivery is facing. Finally, I am well versed with the mission statement of the VHA and the organization to which I am applying. I am a firm believer in ensuring that the quality of life of veterans are improved through the delivery of quality and prompt health care services to the veterans and their families.
Competency 2: Knowledge of analytical techniques and evaluation criteria for improvement of program effectiveness and productivity.
The incumbent needs to be competent in the analytic techniques and the evaluation criteria utilized in the administration of the VA system. The candidate needs to be able to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze the data found in the VHA information software. The analysis of the data helps in determining if there are any improvements that can be made in the provision of medical services to the veterans across the country. The quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques will also be used to determine the effectiveness of the operations and the programs that have been set to achieve the established goals and objectives of the VA program. The analytical techniques desired in the successful candidate will prove helpful in solving operational problems in the programs that have been set in place.
Through the internships that I have undertaken during my Masters and Doctoral programs, I have gained a lot of experience on the analytical techniques used in evaluating VA programs across the country. I have extensive training on how to analyze data reports, presentations, and forms that I will come across as I perform my administrative duties. In addition, I have expert knowledge in statistical techniques that we were taught throughout undergraduate and graduate schools. I am also familiar with techniques such as systems redesign, general systems theory, and the Lean Six Sigma that will be very beneficial to me in analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of the programs that have been set in place. If I find that some of the programs being utilized do not meet VA standards, then these techniques will help me develop new programs that can help the department meet the goals and objectives of the VHA.
Competency 3: Knowledge of appropriate policies and procedures for scheduling and reporting workload.
The successful candidate will be responsible for scheduling and prioritizing programs initiated by the department. This means that the candidate needs to be fully aware of scheduling and reporting techniques that are suitable in the VHA program. Knowledge of these techniques will ensure that proper monitoring of the programs and the department’s resources is taking place. In addition, scheduling will ensure that the programs are fast-tracked to avoid a backlog of or delays in delivering health care to veterans as well as guaranteeing the efficiency of the concerned staff members in carrying out their duties. Constant reporting of the plans, schedules, activities, appointments, and programs of the sterile processing services department as well as their output ensures that discrepancies and mistakes are caught in time. This will save both time and money for the department, the organization, and the veterans that are being served by the organization. Thus, the incumbent needs to be familiar with the specific VA directives that govern the scheduling of outpatient clinic appointments and reporting of workload.
Throughout my extensive experience with VA administration, I am very familiar with the scheduling and reporting techniques detailed in the VA directives. I am extremely familiar with the DSS identifiers that measure the workload for all veteran outpatient encounters. I also have a strong background in patient scheduling routines as well as how to report the department’s activities to the relevant authorities.
Competency 4: Knowledge of computer operations and software, especially Microsoft Office and VHA applications such as VistA and CPRS.
The successful applicant needs to be thoroughly knowledgeable on various computer programs. These computer programs include the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) and the Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS). The VistA and the CPRS programs are integrated software that contains all the necessary information about veterans’ health care needs. The CPRS is basically a graphical user interface that allows users to navigate through the VistA, which is basically a large database that contains the medical records of veterans across the United States, Hawaii, and Alaska. The system is responsible for transforming the Veteran Affairs’ healthcare system by improving efficiency and safety in health care delivery for veterans. The database is critical for the efficient administration of health care to veterans across the country.
With a Masters and a Doctorate in Health Administration, I have a thorough knowledge of the VistA and the CPRS computer programs. I know how to gather information from the system to carry out research on issues such as the number of veteran re-admissions in a state over a certain period of time. I can also update the records in the system as well as capture a patient’s medical records from the database. Through my coursework, I have utilized the programs for many research assignments. I also have real life experience with using the programs in my previous jobs as well as the experience garnered from conducting my dissertations for both my Masters and Post Graduate degrees in Health Administration.