Meet a Keypather: Hannah Frei | Associate Director of Placement Operations
What is your role at Keypath, and what does a day in your life here at work look like?
I just started in a new role at Keypath as the Associate Director of Placement Operations, having been promoted recently from the Placement Specialist role. I will be supervising a team of Placement Specialists and Placement Coordinators who work to find clinical placement sites for students in advanced nursing programs and support the students during their clinical experience.
A day in my life looks like checking in with others in the Placement Team, attending meetings with faculty and staff at our partner institutions, and communicating with folks in other departments to troubleshoot issues as they arise. I also track and report on the progress of our team, so stakeholders can be aware of information like how many placements we have confirmed and how many we’re still working to secure.
What is the most important skill someone in your job needs?
Perseverance is a must when working in the world of clinical placements. Placement can be tough! Sometimes, we find a site willing to take a student for a clinical rotation in less than ten phone calls, but other times it can take up to 200+ phone calls for one student. When you are told “no” that many times, it can be hard to come back the next day and keep making phone calls when it feels like you may never find a site that will say yes.
Now, as Associate Director, I have to continue encouraging my team to keep a positive attitude and stay the course! Also, if one strategy for finding preceptors isn’t working, we have to find another means to get to the ultimate goal of 100% placement. For example, we have recently been using social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to make connections with potential preceptors in addition to other strategies, like cold calling. Having a mindset where my first instinct is to keep going in the face of adversity instead of giving up has been crucial to my success and satisfaction with my role.
Out of Keypath's four core values, which resonates with you most, and why? (be inventive, collaborate, be a lifelong learner, and be committed)
I connect with all of Keypath’s four core values, which is why I am confident I have found my professional home here, but “be inventive” is the one that speaks to me most directly. In my prior roles throughout my career in higher education, I worked closely with students studying entrepreneurship and innovation and was responsible for designing programming initiatives for that student population.
My students inspired me to dream big and constantly work to find new solutions for old problems. I thrive in an environment where I am encouraged to really use my brain and think critically every day, instead of just maintaining the status quo for the sake of doing what we’ve always done. Being inventive also allows us to think outside of the “norm” to invite new possibilities and perspectives.
How has Keypath aided your professional development as a person?
I have grown tremendously as a professional since joining the team at Keypath. I am encouraged to learn about topics that interest me and provided me with the time and resources to do so. Recently, my supervisor sent books to the staff in our department to aid us in our professional development journey. I have also been able to take on projects outside of the job description I have on paper, such as creating training guides for staff and designing tools to better market our department.
In the future, I may consider taking advantage of the generous tuition programs that Keypath offers to further develop my academic credentials. Just knowing that option exists shows me that my development is supported and valued by leadership within the organization.
How does your role help our students succeed?
Completing clinical rotations is a requirement for the programs that our students are in, and securing a preceptor can often be the most stressful aspect of their entire program. Students in programs without clinical placement staff have to find their own sites, and often sit out semesters and delay graduation if they cannot find a site that will take them. And that’s not for lack of trying!
As I mentioned, it has taken me up to 200+ calls to find a site for a student – when have you ever had time on top of your full-time job to make 200+ phone calls in a week? The Placement Team works to lift that burden off their shoulder so they can get their requirements done, graduate on time, and complete their hours with approved preceptors that care about their development. I’m happy to be part of their success in that way.
What's your favorite thing about working at Keypath?
Companies that genuinely care about the well being of their staff and encourage them to bring their whole selves to work tend to be more successful by a variety of metrics and Keypath really seems to get that. These days with the shelter in place in order, I have been working at home with a newborn and a two-year-old which has come with its own challenges.
My peers and the leadership at Keypath have been nothing but supportive and helpful to me in making that very big out of work transition. Because I feel valued, I am even more determined to work harder in my job because I actually love it and don’t ever want to let any of these fabulous people down.