Leading with compassion
As the Practice Manager at Lancaster Street, an outpatient office providing services for adults, adolescents and children coping with mental health, developmental disorders, co-occurring and/or substance use issues, Pris Paul supervises the office’s administrative staff, ensuring smooth operations. Pris’s 30 plus years of experience working in a healthcare environment – ranging from dietary, to billing, to cardiology departments – have given her the tools and knowledge to create an office environment that provides patient and employee satisfaction.
A self-proclaimed ‘front desk person,’ Pris hasn’t lost sight of what it takes to work with patients, and is quick to note that any credit she receives is due to the hard work of her staff. When she arrived at the Lancaster Street practice three years ago, she had a lot of work to do but rolled up her sleeves and relied on compassion and good communication to connect with her team.
“Our care team members are here because they want to make a difference in people’s lives,” Pris said. “And being empathetic helps. We don’t know what kind of situation our patients are coming from. And we don’t know what they’re going home to. Empathy is offered to patients suffering from cancer and other devastating illnesses – mental illness is no different.”
Pris’s empathy doesn’t end with the patients. She is a firm believer staff shouldn’t sweat the small stuff, they should learn from each day and be a better person tomorrow. She also feels strongly about her staff feeling included in the operation of the office.
“I want everyone at the table because they all have a voice,” Pris said. “If a new policy is being discussed, I encourage staff to poke holes in it. They’re on the floor, they’re the ones who have to work through it and with it in the end. I want my staff to know that I have their backs.”
This transparency has cultivated a deep trust between Pris and her staff. Everyone feels she is watching out for their best interests. This is even stronger now, with the COVID-19 pandemic. You see, Pris had announced her retirement shortly before the pandemic hit and was set to retire on June 5. Pris has put retirement on pause, while she helped the office navigate the transition to telehealth and now helps to navigate through reopening.
“Pris has been a beacon for every single person inside that office,” Director of Practice Management Paula Taylor said. “She has been in the office every day since COVID-19 hit, helping staff transition to telehealth. She’s been steady and honest has put everything on hold to make sure the office and her staff are taken care of.”
Now, as reopening approaches, Pris wants to be sure she is there to help staff navigate the new normal.
When her initial retirement date arrived, staff through a virtual party for her to celebrate all she has done for them and all she means to them.
“They celebrated me, the trust that we’ve built – it was a really special moment with a really special group of people.”