Kathy Leone, administrator of Saint Vincent Endoscopy Center in Erie, Pa., lists eight ways to become an effective administrator.
1. Remember to get input. Listen to feedback, including the negative variety, and be willing to change when needed. Employees can provide some of the most valuable feedback, but only if they feel that they can speak up and share their thoughts. Ms. Leone tries to make herself available to staff and to maintain a friendly, receptive approach.
2. Admit your ignorance. "Give yourself permission to not know something," Ms. Leone says. "If I don't know something, I'm going to ask. It might look silly but that's better than not being aware of what I need to know." It helps to have someone to go to with questions, such as the ASC's management company.
3. Have a passion for what you do. Having a passion for the job makes it easier to get through the occasional bad day. "When the day has been tough, what makes me want to come into work the next day is the passion I have for what I do," Ms. Leone says. "This is not something you can teach; it's just part of you."
4. Be well organized. "Being well organized is huge for an administrator," Ms. Leone says. "You don't want to have last-minute fire drills." Administrators have certain "must do's" like meeting payroll and following the surgery schedule. Then there are regular deadlines for tasks such as meeting regulatory requirements. And then there are minor duties that also cannot be missed, such as getting a TB test. Everyone has her own way of keeping track. Ms. Leone keeps a "to do" list and starts new files every quarter for quality, infection control and peer review committees and for the board, and she fills each one with pertinent material.
5. Hire great staff. The right staff can make all the difference in a surgery center. "Hire them, train them," Ms. Leone says, "and then get out of their way." While the administrator still has to be involved, "you have to let your staff feel that you trust their judgment." Hire employees who have good people skills. If they are going to be dealing with patients, "they can't be too reserved," she says.
6. Be clear with employees. An administrator needs to speak up when a staff member is making a mistake. "It's important to comment to employees when they are not meeting expectations," Ms. Leone says. "If I allow it, I enable it." After six months of the same mistakes from an employee, the administrator shouldn't be noticing the behavior for the first time.
7. Commit to patients. A commitment to patients is essential for every ASC administrator because having a good experience is what brings people through the door. "If a patient is sitting waiting for a procedure, give them a smile," Ms. Leone says. "A smile doesn't cost anything." She views patients as if they were her own family members. "Our patients should get the highest quality of care we can give," she says.
8. Commit to quality. The administrator needs to be committed to clinical and operational benchmarking, staff education and accountability. When staff members have been educated, it's important to follow up to make sure they have absorbed the information. "Did they get the meaning of it?" Ms. Leone says. To maintain the highest quality, staff members should be accountable for what they do.
Learn more about Saint Vincent Endoscopy Center.
Related Articles on Tips for ASC Administrators: