Heart Hospital of Lafayette COO's top advice for leaders? Be present, creative

Michelle Crain, MSN, RN, vice president of the cardiovascular service line, administrator and COO of Heart Hospital of Lafayette (La.), shared her top leadership advice during a recent episode of the Becker's Healthcare cardiology podcast.

Here is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to download the full episode.

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: Can you share three pieces of advice for emerging leaders today? 

Michelle Crain: If anything, this past year has also taught us to be very creative and agile with our decisions. Initially, when there was a requirement to do COVID-19 swabs before we could do surgeries, we created a drive-thru service. I could never have done that without having leaders who were open to doing things differently, open to having a process that was established at 8 a.m. and by 4 p.m., it might look like a completely different process. So first and foremost, you have to surround yourself with leaders who create that dynamic of a team.

From a leadership perspective, you also have to be present. And that's something I believe in as a nurse practitioner. I come to work in scrubs fairly often. I round on the floor. I'll carry the resource phone. I think it's important that the staff are seeing me be on the campus and out and about. You set the example from the top. We're very blessed on this particular campus, as we've been at the 99th percentile for patient satisfaction and patient engagement for at least my whole seven years here. It's something that we all strive for. 

Lastly, I think you have to appreciate and respect every member of your team and the importance of the service that they bring to your organization. You have to remember that admitting and registration is just as important as your surgical team or your nurses on the floor. When you get them in a room and you get them talking through issues, they again become very creative with their solutions at the grassroots level. And it allows change to be accepted and to be implemented much quicker than a top-down approach.

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