Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It All Matters

My good friend Tony over at Hospital Impact is crossing over to the hospital side and yesterday, he asked for some advice about working in hospitals. Of all my experience in the hospital, I think one thing sticks out to me about being a leader in a hospital. It is that every decision matters. Some decisions will impact caregivers and make their job harder or easier. Some decisions will impact patients and make their visit more or less enjoyable. Other decisions will change the level or types of services that are available to a community, which could have significant, if not life-and-death impact on people's lives.

That may sound dramatic, but it is certainly true in a sense. Healthcare administrators (the MHA type) are not clinically trained and yet their management decisions affect patient care. Some may think that this is inappropriate or a good reason for nurses and physicians to occupy leadership positions. There is certainly nothing wrong with that idea, but I believe there is a place for the non-clinical mind in this clinical world. If I learned anything else in the hospital it is that good management and leadership are required for the organization to thrive. The necessity of meeting immediate patient need drives decisions on the floors, but the organization needs people to look beyond the patient in the bed, to scan the horizon and to manage the resources. It doesn't take clinical training to perform these tasks. It just takes a profound respect for the impact that these tasks have on the patient.

So remember that, Tony, as you move into the hospital setting. It won't make your decisions any easier, but at least you know that they will matter.


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