7 Key Areas to Recruit a Superstar ASC Director of Nursing

Greg Zoch is a partner and the managing director for Kaye/Bassman International Corporation. He has worked with recruiting healthcare professionals since 1990, and focuses on strategic growth and staffing initiatives at ASCs and hospitals nationwide.

Greg Zoch of Kaye/Bassman InternationalMr. Zoch delves into how ASC owners and executives can recruit the best director of nursing for their center. Here are his seven key areas to keep in mind during the recruitment, interview and selection processes.

1. Look for a high clinical IQ. Finding a director of nursing with a high clinical IQ means the individual has significant experience with all clinical and business areas, such as infection control, CMS standards and regulatory agency and accreditation requirements. The hire also needs to have a "firm grasp" of all clinical aspects of delivering care in an ASC setting, Mr. Zoch says.

"A high clinical IQ helps drive higher and better outcomes," he says. "CMS is going to start rewarding and punishing clinical outcomes. Your facility's profits can rise or fall based on the quality of care you are giving."

A DON with a high clinical IQ will also have a better reputation among patients and members of the clinical community. The best staff members want to work at the best facilities that create the most positive patient outcomes, he says.

2. Value communication skills. Surgeons play a crucial role in the success of a center, but healthcare is a team sport with every member playing a contributing role; clinical directors are responsible for the quality assurances directly related to a center's viability, Mr. Zoch says. With all of the interaction among members in various roles, a DON needs exceptions people and communication skills to keep the team moving cohesively.

"The potential for miscommunication exists in any organization, but within small organizations like surgery centers, as opposed to larger hospitals, the need for good interpersonal relationships is heightened," he says.

Strong communication skills translate into the clinical leader setting an example for the rest of the staff as to how to treat one another and communicate; when to speak and when to listen; and how to put personal feelings on hold when a situation requires it.  

3. Use a third-party search company. Surgery center executives often do not have the network or ability to reach out to the best pool of potential candidates. Even usual methods of promoting a job opening, such as running an ad, will often not reach the best workers. And even once an excellent candidate has been discovered, a search team can be unclear how to proceed.

"Who is going to call the candidate and what are they going to say?" he says. "What's the compelling reason why they should quit working where they are and come to work for you? These questions need to be answered before you can begin any efforts to attract and acquire a top person."

Having a third-party consultant work with candidates lets the people know the ASC is serious about finding the best DON for the job. It can keep potential candidates from getting defensive about "the competition" calling them, he says.

4. Search for a cultural fit. Finding a person to be a good cultural fit is just as important as finding a person with strong technical skills. Culture is king, Mr. Zoch says, and it drives people to both join and leave organizations.

The job search committee or third-party consultant can get an idea of how well a candidate would fit into the ASC's current culture by asking about the person's job preferences, both likes and dislikes, as well as what is keeping that person in his or her current job.

"A good match is key to job satisfaction for both the employer and the employee," he says. "Retention in this business is the name of the game if you want stability and long-term profits."

5. Know what interview questions to ask. Often the simplest questions are also the most important ones to ask when interviewing a potential DON. Mr. Zoch recommends asking questions such as:

•    What tools/supplies/resources do you have now in your position that you don't like?
•    What aspects of the job would you change?
•    What parts of your current position do you like?
•    What would you change about your center if you could change anything?
•    What is most important to you and why?

Short, simple questions with follow-ups are the best.

6. Be willing to pay for quality. Often surgery center owners and CEOs base their compensation offers on what they have paid directors of nursing in the past, but "the market doesn't care what you think you should pay," Mr. Zoch says.

Market factors play the biggest role in what compensation offer to make a candidate. He suggests paying whatever it takes to get a person who will be the best fit for the ASC.

"Sometimes hiring authorities look at salary surveys and say, 'The average salary is $120,000. Why should I pay $125,000?'" he says. "I tell them they shouldn't pay that if they want to hire an average person."

Everybody wants a superstar, he adds, but you get what you pay for; a great DON is no exception. He recommends hiring a person and adjusting the salary offer to fit the quality of the person, rather than hiring to fit a salary. A quality hire will be a better long-term investment.

7. Seek passion. Passionate, enthusiastic candidates will bring their infectious attitudes to the ASC, and it will rub off on other staff members, patients and families. Clinicians also want to work with passionate people who value their work.

"The DON sets the tone for that kind of passionate culture in the facilities," Mr. Zoch says. "Passion also tends to hold the bar high and create a culture of accountability. You cannot be passionate and be apathetic about clinical standards or customer service."

Passion, while important to the energy and enthusiasm of the staff, also translates into increased profits. DONs with a high clinical IQ and a passion for their work will instill higher worker retention rates and make the ASC a more profitable.

"Quality is cheaper in the long run than the cheap option is in the short run," he says. "Quality is always the most affordable option if you measure it over the course of time."

More Articles on Improving Performance:
5 Steps for Smooth Surgeon Relations at a Cost Conscious Surgery Center
Surgery Center Trends Today: 8 Thoughts on What Works — And What Doesn't
10 Ideas to Capture More Value From Daily Surgery Center Activities

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