Rana Al Aghbar, unlike some who pursue a career in health care, didn’t feel a calling to the profession. Instead, what was to be a “job between jobs” became the ideal fit, and her excellence and work ethic have shined throughout her time at the George Washington University (GW) Medical Faculty Associates (MFA). Currently the executive coordinator for GW MFA Fertility and IVF, she is a comfort to patients, literally and figuratively. Not only is Al Aghbar a pillar of support to those seeking care, but she also ensures workflows run smoothly, so both patients and staff members are at ease and have their needs met. Here, she talks about her career path, what she values about her work, and what she enjoys the most.
Q. What is your role at GW, and what does it entail?
Al Aghbar: I am the executive coordinator for the fertility and IVF department. I work closely with the managers to ensure the clinic runs smoothly, always improving on our workflows to allow for efficiency and a superior practice. I support the physicians in coordinating their schedules, meetings, and so forth. I am the new patient liaison; introducing the patients to our practice, establishing communication with our staff members, and assisting in getting their workups started. Additionally, I am an essential team member in training new employees and helping them get accustomed to our workflows and filling in when we are shorthanded.
Q. How did you get started at GW?
Al Aghbar: I was referred by a friend who worked at GW Hospital. I never wanted to work in medicine and thought it would be a job between jobs, but I have now been here for a successful 10 years and enjoy working with my team. I started out at the front desk, moved up to administrative assistant, and now executive coordinator. GW is a well-known name around the world, and I can be proud to say I work at GW.
Q. What accomplishments here are you particularly proud of?
Al Aghbar: I am grateful to be able to say that my manager allows me to be innovative, which has enabled me to be an integral part of a lot of workflow processes and projects that have come through our department. It is a good feeling to know something you were a part of creating/implementing now allows things to run more efficiently for not only our staff but for our patients as well. I also helped the GW Fertility Center get involved with more team building and infertility events, such as the annual Walk of Hope, where we organize with other infertility community members — professional and personal.
Q. What lessons have you learned while working here?
Al Aghbar: This field can teach a lot of life lessons — especially with the many different types of people you come across here, staff and patients. I couldn’t even start to list the lessons I have learned, but it is a never-ending journey in an ever-changing field.
Q. What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Al Aghbar: I truly enjoy working with our patients, especially when they are successful in their treatments. But even when they aren’t successful, it is nice to be there for them and to provide that support of someone who understands what they are going through. We develop a bond with our patients that can often last beyond their time with us — especially when they reach out nine months later with beautiful baby pictures to share!
I also really enjoy working with the fertility team; some of us have been together for years, and for such a small practice with a big impact, it really does start to feel like family.