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Building a Research Onboarding Program in a Pediatric Hospital: Filling the Orientation Gap with Onboarding and Just-in-Time Education

By SRAI News posted 10-25-2018 12:00 AM


In a series of articles, we will present the newest in research administration from the Journal of Research Administration. To read the full JRA, please see here.


Holly R. Zink, MSA, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Mercy Kansas City; Jack D. Curran, MHA, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Mercy Kansas City

Introduction Expectations of excellence and productivity in academic medical centers can be challenging for new research faculty as they struggle to make sense of their new environment (Birden, 2017; Goldschmidt, Rust, Torowicz, & Kolb, 2011; Ellis et al., 2015). Faculty members, with broad responsibilities that may include clinical care, may be vulnerable to frustrated idleness during their first few months (McCarthy et al., 2016a). New hires nearly always arrive with passion to start their research immediately, but can quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of new information and complexity associated with starting work at a new organization (Klein & Polin, 2012). One study shows that 69% of employees are more likely to stay with the company for at least three years, if they experience a good onboarding program (O.C. Tanner, 2018). Studies also show that a newly hired employee takes an average of eight months to reach full productivity (Ferrazzi, 2015). This timeframe can apply to both established investigators, as well junior investigators.

Research Context Children’s Mercy Hospital (CMH) is recognized as one of the nation’s top pediatric hospitals, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-2019 “Best Children’s Hospitals” report (U.S. News, 2018). Part of its overall academic mission is to be an international leader in pediatric translational research. This commitment has led to a 400% increase in the number of full-time investigators hired annually between 2011 and 2017, as shown in Figure 1. This number is expected to double again by 2020. The biggest catalyst for this growth has been the creation of a new research institute that will incorporate researchers at all levels, both at CMH and at collaborating institutions in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Over the past two fiscal years, a total of 26 newcomers were onboarded. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, 10 newcomers elected to participate in the onboarding program. Of those, 60% were female and 40% male. In FY 2018, 16 newcomers elected to participate in the onboarding program. Of those, 38% were female and 63% were male.

To read the full manuscript, Please click here.

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