AORN Blog - The Periop Life

Reach Your Full Potential as a Leader

Group of coworkers having a meeting 
September 17, 2021

During Virtual OR Excellence 2021, you’ll learn from a pair of dynamic and experienced healthcare professionals about the skills needed to advance your career and develop a team full of leaders during the Reach Your Full Potential as a Leader workshop on October 14 from 1:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. The skills have never been more essential after surgical leaders stepped up in a big way during the pandemic, guiding their staffs through a series of unprecedented challenges in order to provide safe patient care. The experience highlighted the essential role heads of facilities play on a daily basis.

“Good leaders are needed now more than ever, but being a good leader is more difficult today due to the many challenges caused by COVID-19,” says Katie Boston-Leary, PhD, MBA, MHA, RN, NEA-BC, of The Reach Initiative. Dr. Boston-Leary says leaders must avoid falling into the trap of implementing a policy-driven, top down management style with a lack of transparency. “That’s where you lose people, particularly today’s workers who want to be engaged and inspired,” she says.

“People are reexamining their priorities after the pandemic. Nurses are voting with their feet.” Today’s leaders need to engage their teams and work with them. There is no other option. “We often focus on the challenge of finding staff to fill vacant roles, but what about the staff who remain?” asks Cynthia Sweeney, DNP, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN, CAPT, USNR, NC, formally vice president of nursing at the Daisy Foundation. “Refocus yourself in a positive place, and make sure you can retain them for extended periods.”

Katie Boston-Leary, PhD, MBA, MHA, RN, NEA-BC
Katie Boston-Leary, PhD, MBA, MHA, RN, NEA-BC

Developing strong surgical leaders is becoming less of a priority, according to Dr. Boston-Leary. Staff members who are engaged and passionate about their work are often selected for the positions, but Dr. Boston-Leary believes there’s not enough of an investment in furthering their leadership skills. “It’s difficult for surgical leaders to dedicate time to continuing education because their environment needs them,” she says.

“It requires investments in resources and time. Surgical leaders are often forced to learn on their own. They take their lumps and keep going until they figure it out. Some survive to advance their careers, some don’t.” Dr. Boston-Leary says it’s important for surgical leaders to build relationships with people outside of surgery. For example, she built a network of connections with members of the Healthcare Financial Management Association to develop her skills in that area. “You also have to forge new relationships and network with other surgical leaders,” says Dr. Boston-Leary. “That’s why conferences like OR Excellence are so important.”

Dr. Sweeney and Dr. Boston-Leary will teach you about all aspects of leading a surgical department or facility. “We’ll talk about how leadership skills impact finances, relationships with fellow team members, patient safety and quality outcomes,” says Dr. Sweeney. “And we can speak to leadership at all levels — from the bedside to the person who ultimately has the responsibility to make it all run smoothly.”

Join Dr. Sweeney and Dr. Boston-Leary for their OR Excellence conference workshop on October 14 from 1:15 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. ET. Early-bird pricing ends Monday, September 20! Register today to save on Virtual OR Excellence 2021.

This article originally appeared in Outpatient Surgery Magazine.

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