Empowering HR Staff in the Dominican Republic to Play an Active Role in Improving Health Services

Diana SantanaWhen I came to work at the Directorate of Health for Region V, I was very shy and afraid to express myself. I thought that my opinions, my ideas, my views, might not be well received.

But everything changed after the training I received from the CapacityPlus project that has taught me to grow as a person and as a professional.

The project has taught me to believe in myself—that I can do quality work, I can defend my views and negotiate with my superiors, the human resources manager and regional director of health, particularly about HR processes. When something is not right—that is, not according to laws and regulations—I have to point it out and be able to explain why.

I’ve learned to deal better with health care users, to better understand them and put myself in their place, to understand their problems and that my attitude can affect the quality of the health services that they receive.

Now when users go to the office, they find a place where they are treated with warmth and peace. They say they are confident that their problems will be handled efficiently, which delights me.

On one occasion, a provincial governor brought several records to our office seeking to fire some of our employees and replace them with others that he wanted to hire. But the records he presented did not justify dismissal of the employees.

We explained to the regional director of health that such action was not appropriate because those employees were part of the civil service and could not be replaced without cause, and that those affected could pursue a lawsuit.

The HR manager and I briefed the governor on the situation and he withdrew their files, with support from the regional health director. Our arguments were clear and precise and were accepted.

Since then, the regional director handles all personnel records through us and does not make a decision without considering HR’s opinion. This was possible because the training has enabled us to understand the role of human resources management in improving the quality of health services—that it is not just processing and archiving employee files.

The project has made me feel empowered to express my opinion. Now I’m sure I can perform my job with quality. I can face obstacles and deal with them for the benefit of health service users in Region V. The challenge now is for politicians to understand that changes of parties in government administrations do not necessarily mean changes in personnel.

The project taught me to understand the role of human resources in the quality of health services.

Version in Spanish

Help CapacityPlus spread the word about strengthening the health workforce. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Related items:

Photo by Elisa Elena González