South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday May 18, 2021

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November 2004 - Volume 1 - Issue 4

Martin Memorial Places Emphasis On Workforce

When Amy Barry first came to Martin Memorial as a Human Resources Compensation/Consulting Manager nearly 10 years ago, Martin was comprised of two hospitals in the process of developing into a health system. Now a decade later, it has emerged into an integrated health care delivery system, and Barry is Chief Human Resources Officer. But one thing that hasn't changed over the years is Martin Memorial's emphasis on its workforce.

Based in Stuart and consisting of two hospitals, three MediCenters, five wellness centers, six rehab centers, a Cancer Center, and primary care physician practices, the health system has approximately 400 physicians on staff, more than 2,600 employees, and approximately 1,000 volunteers. Barry's job has been to oversee the workforce and make sure everything runs smoothly from an HR point of view. "When we went from working as a hospital to an integrated health care system," she said, "the needs (of people) were all different depending where they worked. But people make your organization, and we wanted to maintain our compassionate and caring culture. We struggled with how to connect with the 'family' on a regular basis, and still be able to grow and serve the community."

Martin Memorial was able to do that as Barry's responsibilities increased. "My role changed from managing daily operations to becoming a strategic partner to the CEO and executive team, assisting in evaluating our mission and vision," she said. "We took a look and said, 'What (part of our) business do we need to focus on,' and we went back to the core – ‘our people.’ In evaluating what our values were, we realized the importance of recognition of our workforce."

She continued, "We have infused recognition as never before. We spotlight people; we value what they do. We want employees to walk in (to work) and think, 'What can I do to make it better?' Our mission for our workforce is to be the very best place to work on the Treasure Coast."

Barry said it was "just by chance" that she ended up in health care. She earned a B.S. in Marketing/Management from Siena College in Loudonville, NY, and her first position was at Nursefinders Management Corporation in Albany, where she was responsible for the staffing and recruitment of nursing services personnel. "Then one of my client hospitals (Samaritan Hospital) hired me to recruit for them because they were tired of me taking their nurses away," she explained with a chuckle. "And I ended up loving it." Barry then went to Saratoga Hospital before coming to Martin Memorial, when the man who hired her at Saratoga moved to Stuart, where Martin hired her to be the compensation manager/ consultant. In 1999, Barry graduated with an MBA from Florida Atlantic University as she continued to grow in her career.

In her current position, Barry is not only responsible for basic HR operations but for corporate and clinical education, volunteers, occupational health, and myriad other matters as well. As the pace of life gets more hectic, she admits, "The role of HR continues to be held at a higher regard. There are more stresses for people, there are changes in laws and regulations – there are so many changes that impact people every day.

"Yet when you have effective communication and your workforce focus is in place – everything else falls together."

Doctors and nurses are accustomed to handling emergencies, but human resource professionals are occasionally called to do the same. The state of Florida was hit by four hurricanes in less than two months, and of them, Barry said, "Frances and Jeanne targeted Stuart." Martin Memorial's response was critical, and programs were implemented to care for its personnel. "We really put our best-practice programs to work," Barry said. "We set up housing assistance; food, water, and ice vouchers; foster pet care; counseling; massage therapy for the staff. Our department even adopted a floor/unit/off-site location to take care of.

"In light of such tragic events, it was a way to demonstrate our passion for our people. Our priority was to get our workforce as healthy as can be. We want them to know, 'We're here for you. You've made a lot of contributions to us and our patients, and we want to give you the assistance you need.' We have to make sure we have the best talent available to help the community."

Standards like that generally do not go unnoticed. Martin Memorial has received numerous awards, including recognition as a four-time winner as one of the nation's 100 Top Hospitals, of which Barry is quite proud. "For a community hospital, we've created a health system that's recognized as a best-practice in many different ways, and we're working hard to be the employer of choice."

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