No bones about it; orthopedic options make for a strong career

An inside look at a major local practice

When it comes to bragging rights, Resurgens Orthopaedics, the state’s largest orthopedics practice, may have a leg up on the competition.

For the fifth year in a row, Resurgens lands on the Top Work Places 2015 list, a roster put together by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Workplace Dynamics. Not only does it rank ninth in the metro area among the top 25 workplaces with 500 employees or more, a total of 13 of its physicians recently scored recognition, including seven in Atlanta Magazine and six in Castle Connolly’s Top Doctor online listing.

So what keeps Resurgens Orthopaedics at the top of its game? Arguably, it might be the fact there’s strength in numbers. It all started in 1999 as a single location, a convergence of seven local physician practices, led by Dr. John Garrett. Today Resurgens has 21 area offices from Cumming to Griffin. They specialize in sports medicine, joint replacement, neck and back surgery, foot and ankle surgery, shoulder and elbow surgery, non-operative spine care, hand surgery, arthroscopic surgery, epidural steroid injection, general orthopaedics and trauma care. Six of the locations have surgery centers; nine have MRI capabilities and 18 offer rehab facilities. Recent success stories run the gamut from an injured high school swimmer splashing back into competition to a retiree bouncing from anterior approach hip surgery and onto the golf course.

Its all-inclusive quality may be another secret to Resurgens’ success. Patients can receive comprehensive musculoskeletal care in one spot, beginning with diagnosis all the way to rehabilitation.

“Basically what sets Resurgens apart from other orthopedic practices and physical therapy practices is that we’re integrated health,” said Tara Henderson, the rehabilitation manager at the Austell location. “You can have your physician, your X-ray, your MRI, rehab and other diagnostic tests done all in one place. And all of the results and notes are right there for your physician. Everything is put into an electronic medical record so the physician has immediate access to all of that.”

Each location is staffed in accordance to the volume of activity. A Resurgens office may have as few as three doctors and as many as 23 available. A doctor’s support staff is determined by how many patients a physician sees in the clinic and how many surgeries they perform per week. Most teams include a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner and two other full-time staff members. Typically this includes two certified medical assistants, or a registered nurse and a certified medical assistant or orthopedic tech.

The locations with rehabilitation offices employ physical therapists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, as well as other specialists and therapists. Some spots have one therapist on staff, while others have more than 10 on hand. Each has a rehabilitation manager, who’s also a clinician, and who oversees a group of clinicians.

Once an employee signs on with Resurgens, he or she goes through a two-week training program. This includes getting familiar with computer systems, taking a customer service class and joining forces with a training buddy, who will be working alongside. New hires also have the opportunity to sit down with and shadow various employees. The purpose is to give them a clear view of what each staff member brings to the team.

“You’re not just hired to work for a doctor and start on a particular day,” said clinical training manager, Debbie Gibbs, RN. “After going through the training program, new employees have a great foundation for their jobs.”

According to the staff, this foundation cements itself in the company’s mission and core values. This corporate mantra includes keeping the patients as top priority, respecting colleagues, remaining professional and ethical, and displaying a sense of ownership in performance. As a result, they hold their employees to those values. Some say this develops camaraderie and a close knit staff, despite the company’s size.

“Although some of the practices are large and we’re a big corporation, it feels very small,” said north region clinical supervisor, Melissa Combs, RN. “It sounds clichéd, but our offices are very much like a family environment.”

Combs says the extended family feel comes from the fact that employees are cared for across the board. Having worked in various medical environments, Combs hasn’t seen a benefits package that matches that of Resurgens. And when it comes to cultivating a career, Resurgens employees have opportunities to grow due to the fact it does a lot of promoting from within. Combs herself began working as an RN then segued into the in-house manager training program, which saw her scaling the rungs of the Resurgens ladder.

This year-long, manager-in-training program schools current employees in leadership and management. After completing the program, if a position is available, participants are then placed into a leadership or management position at a Resurgens location.

As an employee’s career continues, Resurgens offers other chances for its staff to bolster both their knowledge and license requirements. Many internal courses are brought into the clinic, and Resurgens has a budget to send staff members off site for external courses.

Several of its staffers say they bask in the fact that Resurgens continues to value its employees. When Gibbs took a hiatus to raise her children, she eventually gravitated back to Resurgens when it was time to return to work.

“As I get older I realize it’s much more about the company than just a job,” Gibbs explained. “Every location is truly a friendly face. I always think of it as home, and that’s why I came back.”

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