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1 University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy Master of Health Administration residency guidebook USC Price School of Public Policy, Graduate Programs in Health Administration 650 Childs Way, RGL 307, Los Angeles, California draft revised: january 1, 2011 (for students entering the program in fall 2011 and thereafter) Page 1

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page I. Introduction 3 II. MHA Residency Requirements 3 A. Prerequisites 3 B. Residency Preparation 4 III. Residency Specializations and Application 5 A. Residency Tracks to Accommodate Diverse Career Paths 5 B. Residency Specializations 5 - Management/Operations/Leadership 5 - Health Policy Analysis 5 - Health Finance 5 - Health Information Technology 5 - Quality of Care 5 IV. Securing a Residency 5 A. USC MHA Networking 6 B. Approval of a New Residency Preceptor 6 V. The Residency Field Experience 6 A. Initial Phase 6 B. Mid-Point Phase 6 C. Completion Phase 7 D. Confirmation of Residency Completion 7 VI. Roles and Responsibilities 8 A. The Resident 8 B. The Preceptor 8 C. The Program Administrator 9 APPENDICES (FORM AND REPORTS) Appendix 1: Residency Application A2 Appendix 2: Skills & Experience Self-Assessment A3 Appendix 3: Resident/Preceptor Agreement Form A13 Appendix 4a: Residency Plan Example 1 A14 Appendix 4b: Residency Plan Example 2 A17 Appendix 5: Preceptor Mid-Point Evaluation Form A20 Appendix 6: Preceptor Mid-Point Evaluation Narrative Form A22 Appendix 7: Resident Mid-Point Evaluation Form A23 Appendix 8: Resident Mid-Point Evaluation Narrative Form A25 Appendix 9: Preceptor Final Evaluation Form A26 Appendix 10: Preceptor Final Evaluation Narrative Form A28 Appendix 11: Preceptor Summary Form A29 Appendix 12: Resident Final Evaluation Form A31 Appendix 13: Resident Final Evaluation Narrative Form A33 Appendix 14: MHA Resident Summary Form A34 Appendix 15: Health Administration Residency Checklist A36 Page 2

3 I. INTRODUCTION The USC Master of Health Administration (MHA) Program is designed on the premise that health management and policy students should have the benefit of practical field experience to prepare them for the complexities of leading people and organizations in the health care environment. Students obtain critical skills and experiences leading up to the administrative residency through coursework, internships, networking, site visits at successful health care organizations, and involvement in professional groups. Thus, the administrative residency is a capstone learning opportunity as it allows the student to integrate and apply knowledge and talents in an actual organization. The goals of the residency are to: 1. Obtain practical exposure and experience in key management areas within health care organizations 2. Develop and implement specific work products that can be used as part of a portfolio that reflects skills and competencies unique to the resident 3. Identify and remedy any areas of competencybased performance areas needing improvement or expansion 4. Provide organizations with an important resource to address current and future needs. This guidebook describes the MHA administrative residency from preparation through fulfillment of the residency placement. The guidebook is to be used as a resource for preceptors and student residents to ensure a valuable and productive residency experience for both. II. MHA RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS Several elements of the residency process must be highlighted prior to considering the basic requirements Filing of required original documents is the responsibility of the student. Students and preceptors may not initiate the residency plan until it has been approved by the faculty advisor and Program Director. Mid-term evaluations must be prepared and filed within hours of the residency. A final evaluation must be completed at least two weeks prior to the University deadline for degree clearance. This date changes depending on the University calendar, and the student is responsible for obtaining this information in a timely manner. In short, It is critically important that students complete the primary steps of the residency in sequence. Wherever possible, key elements of this guidebook will be formatted in italics and bold fonts for emphasis. Students should pay particular attention to these elements. SUMMARY OF KEY REQUIRED EVENTS AND TIMELINES: First semester (Fall): Attend first career development seminar First and second semesters: Complete course work (required - see Prerequisites section) Attend networking opportunities (recommended) Attend residency showcase preparation seminar Attend residency showcase in second semester (optional) Third semester: Identify potential residencies and preceptors Complete Residency Plan Obtain approval of residency preceptor Obtain approval of faculty advisor Obtain approval of program director Initiate residency Fourth semester Initiate residency Complete Residency Mid-Term Student Evaluation Complete Residency Mid-Term Preceptor Evaluation File both Evaluation forms with Program Administrator File Intention to Graduate Form with Program Administrator Fifth semester: Complete Residency Final Student Evaluation Complete Residency File Preceptor Evaluation File both Evaluation forms with Program Administrator GRADUATION (required!) A. PREREQUISITES The USC MHA degree program entails 48 semester units of coursework, plus a residency component. Students are required to complete at least 18 semester units of their academic program be- Page 3

4 fore they may apply for a residency. Degree program prerequisites in statistics, accounting, financial analysis, and economics must be completed before the residency. The prerequisite units are not considered in the calculation of the 20-unit requirement. Students are required to complete at a minimum the following core courses as a residency foundation: Problems and Issues in the Health Care Field (PPD 509) Accounting in Health Care Organizations (PPD 516) Financial Management in Health Services (PPD 510a) Human Behavior in Public Organizations (PPD 545) Economics for Policy, Planning and Development (PPD 501a) Requests to initiate a residency without completing all of these courses may be approved by the Program Director in some situations and only upon petition at the time of completing the Residency Application. B. RESIDENCY PREPARATION Exploring Career Opportunities Students in the USC MHA Program are afforded a variety of opportunities to learn about the many dimensions of careers in the health care field. In anticipation of their residencies, students are encouraged to begin investigating career options as early as possible. We encourage students to find out which career prospects offer the best fit through the development of a contact network through events with alumni and other industry leaders, participation in professional associations, guest lecturers in classes, internships, and staying current with the health care literature. We strongly urge students to take advantage of the unique industry access they have during their academic preparation. residency opportunities, numerous special programs and services are offered which include: Individual counseling Job and internship postings on the Price School Career Development Office website Job and internship announcements via electronic lists Networking and career development events in Los Angeles and Sacramento Access to Price School and USC Career Services Office Preparing a Residency Plan Once minimum coursework requirements are met, students may seek a residency placement. The first step in this process is to open a residency file in the office of the Program Administrator. Documents that need to be submitted are: Preliminary Residency Plan (Appendix 4a/4b) A current resume, reviewed by the Price School Career Development Office Copies of StARS or OASIS report demonstrating completion of the core courses noted in Section II-A Skills & Experience Self-Assessment (Appendix 2) The Residency Plan requires students to identify the two areas of specialization from the five areas provided in the curriculum, organizational residency preferences (e.g., hospitals, insurers, etc.) and other factors that they consider important in the residency placement. The Skills & Experience Self-Assessment is an important tool for identifying core strengths and areas to target for development during the residency. These documents also will be essential in establishing an appropriate residency track (see Section III). MHA students should initiate these networking and career options starting in their first fall semester. Professional Development The Price School of Public Policy is committed to supporting students in achieving their career goals. In addition to establishing internship and Page 4

5 III. RESIDENCY SPECIALIZATIONS AND APPLICATION A. RESIDENCY SPECIALIZATIONS ACCOMMODATE DIVERSE CAREER PATHS Students may have vastly different health care career aspirations. The USC MHA residency is intended to provide both the structure and the flexibility to best meet the career development needs of our students. B. RESIDENCY SPECIALIZATIONS Each student will be expected to identify two of the five core specializations for the purpose of the residency placement. These areas are: Management/Operations/Leadership Health Policy Analysis Health Finance Health Information Technology Quality of Care C. RESIDENCY HOURS All residencies are expected to be a minimum of 1,000 hours. This can be satisfied by a six month, full-time placement, although a number of organizations look for a one-year, full-time commitment to enable the student to obtain a well-rounded learning opportunity. Where students have obtained previous administrative experience in a health care organization, they may petition the Program Director to reduce the hour requirement for up to 500 hours. The Program Director will apply several criteria in this determination, including: Whether the experience relates to the health administration function. Students are expected to have experience at a program or project level. Experience at the administrative assistant or entry level does not satisfy this requirement, in general. The number of years of health program experience D. USE OF AN EXISTING POSITION TO MEET RESIDENCY REQUIRE- MENTS In some cases, students may be working at a relatively high level within a health care organization, and may want to continue this relationship for the purposes of the residency. These individuals are seeking further growth or advancement within their current field or organization. The purpose of the residency is to prepare the resident for advancement into new areas of endeavor. This approach is permissible if the Residency Plan includes clear specification of: The present responsibilities of the position Demonstrated exposure to organizational levels and departments beyond the existing position Proposed projects that will extend beyond the existing position description It is also permissible for the existing supervisor to serve as the residency preceptor, if: The supervisor has been approved as a residency preceptor (new preceptors must complete the Preceptor Application) The supervisor provides a statement regarding the additional responsibilities that the resident will fulfill as a part of the residency There is a plan in place to expose the resident to other levels and programs within the residency site and/or organization. E. RESIDENCY APPLICATION Prior to initiating a residency, the student should file a Residency Application with the Program Administrator (Appendix 1). This application is intended to provide important background to assist in placements, where necessary, and certification that all prerequisites have been satisfied. This application should be filed as soon as the student residency preferences have been determined (in conjunction with the faculty advisor), but not later than the end of January of the first spring semester. It is understood that the residency site is not likely to have been determined by this time, but it is important for the student to specify preferences for the residency as early as possible to assist in locating a site. IV. SECURING A RESIDENCY Students who are ready to secure a residency will find that the USC network, the Price School Career Services Director and other professional networking will help them to develop their residencies. The Residency Showcase Page 5

6 which occurs early in the spring semester is an excellent venue for networking. A. USC MHA NETWORKING The MHA Program is fortunate to have excellent relationships with a wide variety of superb health care organizations that have offered residencies in the past. In anticipation of the residency, students are required to attend the first career development seminar offered in the first semester. In order to increase student awareness of residency opportunities, periodic s are sent to students alerting them to openings and how to pursue them. Students are strongly encouraged to obtain employment in a health care setting prior to beginning their residency. Students are also encouraged to attend various USC events, such as Career Panels, MHA Alumni events and others in order to meet alumni and potential preceptors. A number of career exploration events provide opportunities to meet with USC alumni in the health field throughout the year. Price School is developing other forums for prospective residents to meet with executives from potential residency sites. These events offer an important opportunity for residents and preceptors to engage in information-gathering, networking and resume-sharing. MHA students are urged to attend all health care related events sponsored by Price School and USC to learn more about the people and organizations that are supporting students enrolled in the USC MHA Program. As noted previously, each student is ultimately responsible for developing a residency in line with the specializations noted in the Resident Plan. It is important for students to research targeted organizations, to submit a letter of interest and resume according to the sponsoring organizations requirements, and to follow-up as appropriate. B. APPROVAL OF A NEW RESIDENCY PRECEPTOR Students who are aware of residency opportunities not posted through the School may submit a proposed residency for review. For new residency preceptors, the Preceptor Application must be filed with the Program Administrator, and should include a copy of the proposed preceptor s esume, along with background information on the sponsoring organization (organizational chart, annual report). This must be provided within 10 business days of the desired residency start date. V. THE RESIDENCY FIELD EXPERIENCE After preparing for and securing a residency, the field placement can be divided into three phases, each with specific requirements for documentation and evaluation. Forms and other documentation are provided as appendices and are available online. A. INITIAL PHASE: THE INITIAL PHASE INCLUDES THE RESIDENCY OFFER AND FIRST SIX WEEKS OF THE RESIDENCY PLACEMENT. Once a student has received an offer, the School, student and preceptor need to work together to ensure a successful launch of the residency. The following documents are required to be submitted to the Residency Director at the onset of the residency experience: RESIDENCY PLAN (Examples in Appendix 4a/4b) This contract establishes the practical terms of the residency. It indicates the preceptor s responsibilities, the general areas of focus and responsibilities to be undertaken by the student, the timeframe of the residency, and the compensation offered. It is due at least one month before the field experience begins, and must include the preceptor s and faculty advisor s signatures. The Residency Plan is the master outline for the residency field experience. It should be developed by the resident and the preceptor utilizing the student's self-assessment (Appendix 2), producing specific action steps for orienting the student, as well as specifying goals, objectives, projects and deliverables to be achieved. B. MID-POINT PHASE: THE MID-POINT PHASE MARKS THE FIRST OFFICIAL EVALUATION POINT OF THE FIELD EX- PERIENCE. RESIDENCY ON-SITE VISIT. A residency on-site visit may be conducted for new residencies. The purpose of this visit is for the resident, preceptor, and Residency Director to discuss the residency experience to date, adaptations to the original residency plan, and recommendations to Page 6

7 optimize the residency for both the resident and the sponsoring organization. The following documents are required to be submitted within two weeks of the residency midpoint. For new residencies, they must be submitted prior to the site visit. PRECEPTOR MID-POINT EVALUATION (Appendices 5 & 6). The mid-point evaluation is of great importance for monitoring the resident s progress. The evaluation form quantitatively assesses performance on a variety of levels. The evaluation narrative provides a qualitative summary of the resident s strengths, growth, and areas for further development, and highlights accomplishments or obstacles encountered to date. It should also include any key objectives and expectations for the last half of the residency. The preceptor should submit this on-line and must be completed within hours of the mid-point date. RESIDENT MID-POINT EVALUATION (Appendices 7 & 8). The resident s assessment of the preceptor and residency to date is equally important to ensuring a mutually beneficial experience. There is both an objective evaluation form and a narrative summary in which the resident elaborates on the residency compared with plan, satisfaction with the placement, projects and other contributions made, and the competencies and skills being developed. The narrative should include expected accomplishments for the remaining part of the residency. Obstacles to an effective residency should be identified, along with recommendations for their correction. The evaluation need not be reviewed with the preceptor before submission and, upon request, can be kept confidential. ONGOING COMMUNICATION. Although the mid-point provides a formal opportunity for communication, assessment and reflection, it is highly desirable that both the student and preceptor establish and maintain informal communication with the faculty advisor. Open channels of communication will facilitate early warning of residency challenges and necessary plan corrections. A dynamic interchange and monitoring system will enhance the residency experience for all parties. C. COMPLETION PHASE: THE COMPLE- TION PHASE RUNS FROM MID-POINT TO THE STUDENT'S FULFILLMENT OF THE RESIDENCY FIELD EXPERIENCE. At least two weeks prior to the University s certification of degree completion date, and prior to the conclusion of the residency placement, the following documents must be provided to the Program Administrator: PRECEPTOR FINAL EVALUATION (Appendices 9, 10 & 11). As with the mid-point evaluation, the final residency evaluation includes an objective form to provide a standardized evaluation of the student's potential in the field of health care administration. The assessment highlights issues and accomplishments in the final phase of the residency, summarizes the overall performance of the resident, identifies competency levels, and offers guidance for the student s future career development. Finally, the Preceptor Final Evaluation form is an important tool in determining the mutual value of the residency to the student and the sponsoring organization, as well as ways to improve the preceptor experience. Submit all three evaluations to the Program Administrator. RESIDENT FINAL EVALUATION (Appendices 12, 13 & 14). The objective resident assessment form allows the student to self-analyze the residency experience, while the narrative portion enables him/her to comment more broadly on overall growth, contributions, and performance. In addition, this evaluation provides a self-assessment of competency levels to determine personal professional growth attainment. This brief report should include a brief abstract of all major projects and activities undertaken by the resident, including an assessment of these activities on the organization. Both documents should be reviewed with the preceptor before submission. The third and final document is the Resident Summary. This form provides the program with information on the student s perceived academic preparation and his/her career plans, and will be shared with the Career Development Office. Comments and recommendations regarding the site and preceptor are encouraged and will be made available to upcoming residents, unless otherwise requested. D. CONFIRMATION OF RESIDENCY COM- PLETION RESIDENCY CHECKLIST (Appendix 15). The Residency Checklist is a master list used by the program manager to track each student s residency and supporting documents. Students and preceptors are encouraged to use the checklist to ensure that all of the appropriate documents are submitted in a timely fashion. Page 7

8 Once all the required documents have been received, the program director will review the student's complete residency file and approve completion of the administrative residency component of the MHA degree. Students who will be graduating upon completion of their residency are reminded that they are responsible for ensuring timely submission of documents and for contacting the Program Administrator to determine whether the file is complete. Delays in receipt of materials may delay awarding of the MHA degree. VI. ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES A. THE RESIDENT Through the residency experience, the MHA Program provides students with a valuable learning opportunity to successfully develop administrative capacity while acquiring a deeper understanding of the healthcare industry. A successful residency experience requires dedication and a major time commitment to meet the following responsibilities: 1. Be familiar with and accountable in fulfilling all of the residency requirements. 2. Complete the appropriate prerequisites and open a residency file with the Residency Director before commencing a residency search. 3. Investigate career options and determine residency objectives (type of organization, learning experiences desired). Prepare for the residency process through candid self-assessment of strengths and opportunities, learning about targeted organizations, and development of professional job search skills. 4. Negotiate the Resident/Preceptor Agreement (including salary, as appropriate) with the preceptor. Develop and submit the residency plan in accordance with the residency guidelines. For new residency opportunities, the residency plan must be submitted for approval prior to the student commencing the residency. For continuing residencies, the residency plan for the current resident must be submitted within three weeks of the start date. 5. Adhere to the sponsoring organization's policies and procedures. Exhibit professional demeanor, work habits and attire. 6. Inform the preceptor, as well as the Residency Director or Residency Advisor of any problems that arise during the residency. 7. Accomplish the goals, objectives and deliverables outlined in the residency plan. 8. Meet/communicate with the preceptor on a regular basis to identify potential projects, review work and progress, discuss managerial issues and current health care topics, and receive guidance. 9. Take responsibility for ensuring that all residency-related documents are submitted in a timely fashion, and that your residency file is complete. B. THE PRECEPTOR The preceptor is key to a successful and valuable residency experience for both the resident and the sponsoring organization. Participation in the residency program requires dedication and a considerable time commitment on the part of the preceptor, who generally is responsible for one resident at a time. To ensure that students receive the guidance and support they require during the residency experience, we look for preceptors who have senior level capabilities in a healthcare organization for a minimum of two years. The preceptor's main responsibilities are to: 1. Be familiar with the goals and requirements of the USC MHA Residency Program. Please contact the program director if you would like to have your questions answered in person. 2. If possible, attend USC sponsored events to meet our students (both residency seekers and those up-and-coming), network with colleagues, and interact with Price School and the MHA Program leadership. Page 8

9 3. Interview students interested in the available residency opportunity and provide constructive feedback to students not selected for the residency opening. 4. Extend the residency offer and complete the MHA Resident/Preceptor Agreement Form (Appendix 3) in cooperation with the resident. Stipends, salaries or other benefits for residency positions vary and are negotiated between the sponsoring organization and the student. 5. Guide development of a residency plan for the resident to accomplish during the residency experience. The Residency Plan must be submitted for approval at least two weeks prior to the student commencing the residency. 6. Orient the resident to the sponsoring organization, personnel, policies, procedures, and available resources. 7. Be a mentor, coach and role model to the resident and help the resident apply administrative theories to the actual operations of a health organization. 8. Set a regular meeting schedule for the purpose of communicating potential projects, reviewing work and progress, discussing managerial issues and current health care topics, and providing overall direction to the resident. 9. Complete and submit in a timely fashion the preceptor s evaluation of the resident at both the mid-point and end of the residency. Delays in receiving these documents may adversely affect the resident s graduation date. PRECEPTOR EXCHANGE C. THE PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR The Program Administrator plays a crucial role in assuring the quality of the residency component of the MHA Program. The responsibilities include: 1. Identify residency openings and preceptors. 2. Provide students with information on available residencies. 3. Orient preceptors and students to the objectives of the residency program, and the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved. 4. Assist each student to determine: a. Residency track and duration of the field experience. b. Skill and competency development needed. c. Appropriate health services setting for the field experience. 5. Open and maintain individual student residency files. 6. Review and approve residency plans and projects. 7. Communicate with the student and preceptor and participate as needed in evaluating the student's progress. 8. Provide evaluation forms and guidelines to assist the student and the preceptor in assessing the student's progress during the field experience. D. Analyze the elements of success or failure of the field experience after evaluation of the total learning process. (Appendix 11 and 14) USC MHA preceptors often sponsor at least one student annually and are most willing to support other preceptors in the residency process. We encourage preceptors to exchange ideas, insights and perspectives with their colleagues, in order to make the residency experience as valuable and rewarding as possible for both the resident and the preceptor. The Program Administrator and Program Director can provide preceptor contact information. Page 9

10 Date: By signing this Application, I acknowledge that I have read the Residency Handbook, and that I will be responsible for fulfilling all requirements in a timely fashion. I understand that failure to complete the specified documentation may delay my graduation. Signature: Print Name: Student ID No: Upon competion of this form, all residency forms will be sent electronically to your address Page 10

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