Meet a Keypather: Reina Salcedo
What is your role and how long have you been at Keypath?
I am a placement manager. I manage the team of placement specialists that work with Walsh University, Texas Women’s University, and Elmhurst University. I have been with Keypath since September 2020, and I’ve been a manager since the summer of 2021.
What does a day in your life at Keypath look like?
I have meetings with the placement specialists, prioritizing and strategizing how to approach securing placements for students. I’m working with them individually, but also as a team, and the ultimate goal is to have every student placed for their clinical rotations so they can complete their program. I also work with my associate director on the partner-facing side, to communicate with our partners.
Outside of that, there are a lot of reports. I’m looking at data, and I’m implementing new approaches to work around difficulties in securing placements. Even though we might have a lot of hospitals or clinics in an area, not all of them will accept students, some of them only accept students from specific universities, and some of them have processes that make it difficult for us to secure placements. So, I work with the specialists on alternative and creative ways of finding placements.
My biggest goal is setting the team up so they are consistently placing students, so that as we grow, as the programs grow, they don’t feel overwhelmed with the number of students that we are getting. At the end of the day, the priority is ensuring that the specialists have the support and resources necessary.
What is a typical day for someone in the placement team?
Within the placement team, we have different roles. The placement specialists are the ones who call the facilities to secure placements. Depending on the partner, they might also process the paperwork - contracts, resumes, and things of that sort. Then we have our coordinators on the student-facing side. They meet with students, arrange student clearances, make sure students have their health data completed as well as their pre-clinical paperwork. And then we have our research associates, who are behind the scenes researching new facilities and thinking strategically about the kinds of facilities we’re looking at.
How does your role help our students succeed?
The end goal of the placement team is to secure clinical placements, which are internships of sorts so that students can finish their programs. In order for our nursing students to become certified or complete their degree in nursing, they have to complete hands-on work: the actual clinical experience where they go into healthcare facilities. We work on securing those placements for students, without them having to be the ones calling all these facilities, competing with all the other students. We are essentially taking that work on for our university partners and the students in those programs.
How would you describe the culture of your team?
It’s very welcoming, very much a space where you can be comfortable asking questions and learning and challenging yourself. One of the things that I really love seeing is just how collaborative the team is. Everybody has their individual goals, but they work together for what’s best for the student. That is one of the biggest things for me, seeing the teamwork and collaboration, everyone is very open to working with each other for the end goal.
What is the most important skill someone in your team needs?
For the placement specialists, being comfortable talking to folks is a big one, critical thinking is huge because you have to think outside of only placing people in hospitals and being adaptable is key because things are often changing.
Also, sometimes it’s being okay with not having all the answers. It’s being okay with saying let me find out. I’m a huge believer in asking for help when you need help because I’d rather have folks who are asking for help and finding the solution versus trying to figure it out by themselves. Being comfortable with rejection is also important because not every site we call is going to say yes, and not every student is going to be happy.
The other one is being solution-oriented: one thing that I talk to the team about is thinking critically about solutions.
Out of Keypath’s four core values (be inventive, be collaborative, be a lifelong learner, be committed), which resonates with you most and why?
I feel like they all must work together, but for me, it really is the lifelong learner. I come from a higher education background, so I’ve always believed that learning is important. If I think of my current role and department, being able to learn the multiple areas of placement has been instrumental to my role and to help with the growth and sustainability of placement in Keypath.
How has Keypath aided your professional development or growth as a person?
It has really pushed me to be more comfortable with the uncomfortable. I’m not always going to get a yes, and it’s not always going to be a home run, but how do I get past that? One of the biggest things I’ve learned is overcoming those obstacles.
Having the opportunity to work in the role that I’m now supervising has given me a different perspective on how to approach conversations and help my team thrive in their roles and see outside of the day-to-day work that we can sometimes get stuck in.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Keypath?
I think the people, really. Even working remotely, I felt like I knew people. It never felt like it was just me in my own bubble. I think being able to translate what you would see in person, that culture and that environment, online has been refreshing for me.
What would you tell someone who is considering a role at Keypath?
There’s so much to learn within different departments. The greatest thing I’ve seen has been the collaboration between different areas: how interconnected all these departments are to ensuring that the student has a positive learning experience, whichever program or partner we’re working with. For me, that’s the impact Keypath has. I think we are in an exciting place as we continue to grow and expand outside the regions, areas, and programs that we have, so I’d recommend people just take the leap and see what happens.
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