Administrator to Know: Lynda Dowman Simon of St. John's Clinic: Head & Neck Surgery

Lynda Dowman Simon (St. John's Clinic: Head & Neck Surgery, Springfield, Mo.). Ms. Simon is the administrator at St. John's Clinic: Head & Neck Surgery in Springfield, Mo. The center, which opened in 1988, is the only surgery center in Missouri solely devoted to ENT. The center has one operating suite that is shared among five surgeons who each spend one day a week at the center. Last year, St. John's performed 2,220 procedures.

Ms. Simon has been at her center since 1994. Prior to coming to St. John's, she worked for 13 years at a local hospital in the open heart center and urology. "I loved the toys in those departments," she says. She then spent four years in a telephone triage room before making the move to the ASC industry.

One of Ms. Simon's most successful programs at St. John's has been "Hiring for Fit," an exercise in which she and her staff learned how to ask "negative" questions to potential hires. "It really can tell you a lot about the personalities of the people you are interviewing," she says. "I want to see how someone can make a positive out of a negative. If they are able to take a challenge and give a nurturing answer, I know they will be good caregivers and are in touch with the needs of the patient."

St. John's also works peer reviews into their evaluations. For example, staff members have good ideas for improving patient satisfaction that are incorporated into the center's policies. "It shows the staff that their opinion counts," Ms. Simon says. "And if it doesn't work out, we can always go back."

The staff at St. John's is Ms. Simon's favorite part of working at her center. "I work with the most talented people," she says. "I try to hire people smarter than me so that I can learn something from them every day." She also notes that her nursing staff floats positions and they work in every department at the center. "Everyone knows what everyone else is doing," she says. "It makes for a cohesive group."

Ms. Simon says she truly enjoys her position as administrator, calling it the "most favorite job I ever had." "There are so many facets I can get into and wrap my fingers around," she says. "I get to do so much from helping incorporate changes in service to working shoulder-to-shoulder with nurses in recovery."

Ms. Simon encourages other RNs who feel like they have something to offer surgery centers to look into management. "There are so many ways to apply what you know and make a better environment for the staff," she says. "Plus, you get the chance to help out your fellow man, and nothing is better than that."

To see the list of all 50 Administrators to Know, click here.

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