Do you need to write a job description for each area of the hospital?

Feb 15, 2004

Make sure that it is a job description and not a personnel policy manual that you need.

A job description is a listing of specific tasks to be done while an employee is on the job any given day. A policy manual is how employees will conduct themselves while in your employment and a listing of benefits the employee may be entitled to.

First, there needs to be a definition of each position. This will be your hardest task.

Is the person answering the telephone a receptionist or are they a customer relations specialist (CRS)? The difference for receptionist vs. a CRS can be great. A receptionist generally only answers phones and schedules appointments, while a CRS performs those functions they are also responsible for talking with clients about why a diet or a certain procedure is important. They are there to help with "client relations."

For the positions that are governed by law, you can use definitions that are written in your state's practice act.

Now that you have a definition of each position, you need to have input from the current team already in place.

A good way to achieve this is to give each team member a pocket size notebook to jot down all of the tasks they do on a given day. Obviously you will have some of the same things listed but you compile those into one list. Your head or lead team members for each area then help to organize this in an order of importance.

Realize that a job description is intended to describe the essential functions of a position.

Take the listing of tasks in order of importance and start preparing an outline of the duties involved. I prefer outlines rather than lengthy paragraphs. It is easier for a person to find an answer if there is confusion, plus we all know that there are always gray areas that just cannot be covered in black and white as hard as we may try. Also, if you do change a technique or procedure, it will not be necessary to change the entire description.

An example of this would be currently all fecals are done by using the flotation method, but in the future the clinic decides to go with the centrifuge method and the outline was prepared to read:

Fecal Analysis
1. Prepare sample
2. Read and interpret sample
3. Record results

This will eliminate a lot of work and headaches down the road. The descriptions should be reviewed annually, but hopefully, unless you are adding duties to the position, there shouldn't be too many changes each year.

Each team member should be provided a copy of all job descriptions. This helps to define who is responsible for what and helps to alleviate stepping on toes. We also had an attorney review our entire policy manual. We also added a disclaimer that the manual was a description of duties and was in no means "limited."