December 20, 2018

QUESTION:        What we’d like to get as a present this year is a way to find strong, interested and effective department chairs and other Medical Staff leaders.  Any ideas?  Thanks – Virginia.

ANSWER:            Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus – in other words, yes, we have a few ideas.  Let’s start unwrapping the present.

In many hospitals, it has been traditional to rotate the department chair among those in the department so that everyone gets his or her turn, which does not always make for strong, interested, and effective leaders.  However, not every physician has an aptitude for, or interest in, a medical staff leadership position.  In order to solve this dilemma, a hospital should consider developing stronger qualifications for serving in medical staff leadership roles, including officers as well as department chairs, and to provide for compensation for these individuals.  Another solution could be to determine whether there are too many departments and, if so, consider consolidating departments.  By having fewer positions to fill, the hospital will then have a larger pool of qualified individuals who want to serve.

All of this said, one of the biggest changes that we have seen in medical staff leadership in the recent past is to eliminate the use of “ad hoc” nomination committees for identifying medical staff leaders – whether the leaders be officers, department chairs, or committee chairs — and moving toward a standing committee dedicated to leadership development and succession planning that meets throughout the year.  Having a standing committee in place allows the leadership to take a more comprehensive look at the medical staff, identify new members who might make good leaders in the future, and give them time for training, education, and development.

For more on this, and other topics, please join Linda Haddad and Nick Calabrese for the first Grand Rounds Audio Conference of 2019Six New Year’s Resolutions Every Medical Staff Needs to Make.