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Ed Kent spends his days taking care of others. He’s very good at it. So good, in fact, that the 14-year Olympia Orthopaedic Associates veteran is now the Clinic Supervisor for the group’s Westside Clinic.

Kent’s career in orthopaedics began in the military where he gained 22 years of experience in the field. He joined OOA in 2002 as an orthopaedic technician and worked his way up to Nursing Floor Supervisor at the group’s Westside Clinic.

Olympia Orthopaedic Associates
Even though OOA’s Ed Kent is now the Clinic Administrator, he still pitches in with patients, saying he’ll never give up working with patients. Photo courtesy: Olympia Orthopaedic Associates.

As of May 2016, Kent is now the “man at the top” in his new role of Clinic Supervisor. He’s the perfect fit for the job with his vast orthopaedic knowledge coupled with his deep understanding of how the clinic runs. “Honestly, I’m really enjoying that I don’t have to answer to anyone,” Kent laughs. “But really, the thing I enjoy the most is that it hasn’t been a big transition. I was doing many aspects of this job anyway from where I was as Floor Supervisor. But now I have the freedom to institute changes that are needed, ones I’ve been thinking about for a long time.”

While Kent’s quick to laugh about his new top admin role, he’s just as quick to credit the new management throughout OOA. “One of the big reasons I accepted the position, was that we had a change of management at the top and have a great CEO in Ben Shah and a strong management team – the billing team, our patient access coordinator, our physical therapy director, the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) director. I’m excited for the future,” Kent says.

CEO Shah, himself new to the top spot at OOA, shares Kent’s feelings. “When the Clinic Administrator role came open, it was really a no-brainer to promote Ed,” he shares. “He has a rapport with the physicians, staff and management team that is positive and supportive. He really exemplifies what we’re trying to do here at OOA in building an open, positive culture where people want to work.”

Olympia Orthopaedic
Employees like Heidy Mcwain (left) and Kaylie Parada (right) know they can come to Kent to share successes and concerns and they will be heard. Photo courtesy: Olympia Orthopaedic Associates.

In the past, Kent was a fixture in the clinic’s busy cast room. He would sooth a nervous child (or parent!), reassure an athlete they would get back on the field and offer his vast knowledge to help answer patient questions. Now, Kent spends more time in his new office than the cast room, but he’ll still find time to slip in and help out.

“I still get to see my patients – I still get hugs, too,” he says with a smile. “They ask me, ‘Now that you are the supervisor, are you going to start wearing a suit?’ I tell them no way. I’m still going to have interactions with my patients. You can’t ever take me away from patients.” Navy blue scrubs are the uniform Kent has always worn, and will continue to wear, no matter the title on his office door.

Kent’s steadfast patients-first attitude paired with his time spent working “in the OOA trenches” is already generating positive progress in all departments. One step forward is in the casting room, Kent’s old stomping grounds. “It used to be just David and me who could put on or take off casts,” Kent explains. This left them short-handed more than they liked. Kent saw the issue and solved it by implementing casting training for OOA Medical Assistants (MAs) enabling them to work in the cast room. To date, 15 have gone through training and Kent shares, “My goal is get 100% of them trained and able to help out.”

The insider perspective Kent has from his time as an ortho tech is helping other departments as well. “We were always short on experienced X-ray techs (XT),” he says. Often an XT will gain enough experience in X-ray to transition to MRI or CAT Scan departments, leaving a void in the X-ray room. Kent again looked to the talended MAs already in clinic and began training them to become X-ray techs. Hands-on training in the OOA clinic gets them up to speed fast and once a they are a trained XT, the MAs become multi-functional employees.

“There are days when a provider is not in clinic, so an MA won’t be working. But, if they are also trained as an X-ray tech or casting specialist, they can pick up other shifts or fill in for employees who might be out,” Kent explains. “Everybody wins.”

This spirit of creative problem solving and collaboration has quickly established Kent as a key player on the administrative team, not only looking out for the company’s bottom line, but assuring employees are advancing their careers and patients remain number one. “If I can implement managerial policies that help turnover, are cost effective, make sense from the technical and logistical side, improve patient experience and help create multi-functional, better trained and more versatile employees then I’m doing my job,” he shares.

Oly Ortho
As Clinic Administrator, Kent is responsible for everything needed to keep things running smoothly, including tasks as small as checking a fire extinguisher with Kaytlin Shultz-Lumsden. Photo courtesy: Olympia Orthopaedic Associates.

Rachel Sherburne, OOA’s Marketing Liason and a medical scribe in the practice shares why Kent’s is the perfect fit for Clinic Administrator. “The thing that makes Ed different is that he knows what it’s like in the trenches – patient flow, what a tech or scribe’s job is like, what happens in the cast room,” she explains. “He understands each job because he’s been there. It’s a blessing to have Ed in this role. Employees feel they can come in, have a conversation and be heard. They see real changes that make sense and are in response to issues they’ve identified. Things are changing for the good.”

Planning a visit to Olympia Orthopaedic Associates? Keep watch for Ed Kent in his signature blue scrubs. He may be a top administrator now, but he’ll always just be “Ed” to the patients.

Olympia Orthopaedic Associates
3901 Capital Mall Drive SW
Olympia, WA 98502
360-709-6230

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