Nationwide, growing numbers of healthcare organizations are seeking clinical leaders to fill their executive positions. The reason? Organizations are recognizing more and more that physicians, nurses, and other clinicians can bring a unique, boots-on-the-ground perspective to the C-suite.
Clinician leaders can offer:
- Experience through the lens of a provider
- Insight into issues including patient flow, supplies, and daily operations
- Understanding of how provider teams function
- Ability to prioritize solutions and optimize processes from an inside perspective
- Influence among other providers to drive change (hsph.harvard.edu)
Rounding out the team. Adding clinician leaders can help round out the skill sets of the executive team, as they can bring diversity in mindset, approach, and training. Just as leaders from business backgrounds provide knowledge and guidance from an operations perspective to fortify clinician leaders who join the executive team, leaders from clinical backgrounds bring insight and expertise from a medical perspective to the table.
Bringing deep insight. Clinicians offer a unique understanding of their core business, and this may contribute to strengths in decision-making and institutional strategy. While it is difficult to pinpoint drivers behind organizational performance, there is evidence that among US News and World Report’s Top 100 Hospitals, physician leadership may have improved performance on quality scores by as much as 25% (Goodall).
Focusing on teamwork. Today’s clinicians are accustomed to using a teams-based approach to deliver quality patient care. With the change from volume- to value-based care, providers have become part of strategic teams sharply focused on patient-centered care (Babiker et al.). Clinicians can bring this mindset into leadership roles and imbue the leadership team with a fresh perspective on collaboration to support safety and quality, as well as provider and patient experience, throughout the organization.
Implementing a process-focused mindset. Historically, physicians were characterized as having a more autonomous approach, tackling challenges primarily on their own (Guthrie). However, with the emergence of the care-team model and value-based care, more and more physicians are focused on strategic division of labor and responsibilities to ensure delivery of safe, high-quality care. This means clinical leaders are growing increasingly adept at prioritizing solutions and optimizing processes within organizations. Even graduate medical programs have become more focused on turning out clinicians who are prepared for leadership (Kumar et al.).
Driving change. Clinician leaders are uniquely positioned to motivate their peer providers to buy in to change. These leaders can serve as change agents because they can understand how change will look and feel and how it will impact work-life (Garfield, AAPL). They can empathize with medical staff and address concerns from a like-minded perspective.
3 Ways to Position Your Executive Role to Attract Clinical Leaders
If you’re seeking effective clinical leaders to add to your team, consider how you structure and market the role.
- 1. Offer training and support. Organizations can support new physician leaders and maximize ROI through training. Consider providing mentorship, coaching, shadowing, or leadership boot camp. Other options are leadership committees, physician-leader forums, and external training opportunities. Target training to address specific leadership gaps; consider areas like finance, operations, strategic planning, technology, and innovation. Also, consider how you can support clinician leaders in fine-tuning skills like problem solving, team building, conflict resolution, project management, change adaptation, and process improvement.
- 2. Target your position description for clinician leaders. It is critical for the organizational leader to paint an accurate picture of what the leadership role entails for the physician. Insight into the day-to-day operations, demands, goals, and expectations can help the clinician evaluate whether the position is the right fit. Further, the interviewer(s) can lay out the organization’s philosophy, values, vision, and mission to ensure the physician and facility are in alignment.
- 3. Offer an attractive package. Consider what appeals to the clinician. Can you offer incentives, medical school loan repayments, vacation time, 401k match, or an employee stock purchase program? Perhaps you might offer an administrative stipend, flexible spending account, training and career growth opportunities, or top earning potential. Be sure to highlight the extent of your operations and facilities and feature the attractive qualities of the location and region.
Whether you’re in search of a physician, nurse, or other clinician leader to add to your team, let us help you find the executive talent you need. Connect with an executive search expert at Cejka Search.