7 thoughts on leadership with one of Yale-New Haven's youngest administrators

At 28-years-old, Stephanie Beauton already has quite a list of accomplishments to her name. She serves as an off-shift executive administrator at Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital, holds a master's degree in health administration and is finishing up a health and human services doctorate with a concentration in community health and education. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Conn., and co-founded a nonprofit organization called Fitizen, which she sits on the board of directors for.

Ms. Beauton was raised in a small town in Connecticut. While her mom and dad didn't go to college, they always encouraged her to work hard and open up her mind to learning. Starting at age 18, she participated in as many healthcare-related internships as possible — including one at New Haven, Conn.-based St. Raphael's Hospital, which was acquired by Yale-New Haven in 2012 — and eventually earned a bachelor's degree in political science and public health from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.


She received the 2013 Alumni Community Service Award from Southern Connecticut State University, sits on the board for Get Healthy CT and acts as a liaison for the New Haven Chapter of the Crisis Intervention Stress Management Committee.


Ms. Beauton shared her thoughts on leadership and her role at Yale-New Haven with Becker's Hospital Review.


Note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity. Stephanie Beauton YNHH


Question: What made you want to go into the healthcare field and pursue an MHA?


Stephanie Beauton: When I started as an undergrad at Southern Connecticut State University, I was actually interested in nursing. But once I got in a clinical setting, I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do. I saw things around me that could be more efficient, and I wanted to make a difference more universally — as opposed to through direct patient care — so I switched my major to health administration. While I'm not directly related to patient care, I still have an impact on overall patient outcomes.


Q: What's one piece of leadership advice that has always stuck with you?


SB: When I was an undergrad working at my first job as a medical records clerk, I put a meet and greet on my boss' calendar to set up my own conversation with him. I asked about his career and how he got to where he was. One of my biggest takeaways was the importance of learning from your network or the individuals you look up to. Align yourself with individuals that can mentor and guide you. Find someone who believes in your vision and will push you outside of your boundaries.

Q: What do you wish you knew before stepping into your role as off-shift executive administrator at Yale New Haven Hospital?


SB: The challenge of being an administrator, especially when you're in charge of one of the largest organizations in Connecticut, is that there are so many other service lines and departments involved with patient care. Stepping into this role, it's crucial to learn how each department leader expects their department to operate. Meeting with leaders beforehand to understand their goals and visions for their departments would have allowed me to better align what I was doing at work with their goals from the very beginning. Once I got this information, it made my nights a lot smoother and opened up a more fluid line of communication.


Q: How do you ensure your organization and its activities are aligned with your core values?


SB: Yale has five core values: integrity, patient-centered, respect, accountability and compassion. These are the most important factors that drive me and ensure I'm in the right place. Working for an organization that stands firm on trust and integrity — and lets my own personal mission to be part of its larger vision — allows me to do my job better. My biggest conversation with staff is that respect is first and foremost in all conversations and interactions with patients and family members. As a leader, to ensure the organization aligns with these values, you have to show your coworkers that you practice and live by them every day.


Q: What is one characteristic you believe every leader should possess?


SB: It's very important to be relatable. This is the one thing that has made me stand out and earn respect from my peers and colleagues, especially as such a young leader. I try to make myself as available and connected as possible to staff and patients. If there is a situation that arises, or a department is short-staffed, I don't hesitate to jump in. I've rolled beds to the ER because we were short on transfers. That's what embodies a leader. No task is too big or too small.

Q: How do you ensure positive communication and transparency between leadership and staff?


SB: I'm a liaison between managers, directors, vice presidents and the hospital president. When they leave at night, it's my job to ensure the facility is in better shape than they left it when they come back at 7 or 8 a.m. The unique quality of my job is the structure of hierarchy. Since I don't have any direct reports with other service lines on the off-shift, it's easier to be more transparent and approachable with staff. This has made me more effective and accountable. I'm neutral, yet always keep patient and staff safety first and foremost in my mind. It's easier to facilitate conversations with leadership and staff because I am almost a third party that's saying, "Here's the problem that happened overnight. Let's address this to make sure it doesn't happen again."


The best part of this role is it's never the same. When I start the night shift at 7 p.m., I'm handed a phone that every person in the institution — or management at home — can reach me at. I'm able to both problem solve — take action when needed and be accountable for risks — and recognize staff members for their outstanding work. It's great on both sides.


Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement at Yale New Haven Hospital so far?


SB: I was working the night we had our first potential Ebola patient. When the whole Ebola scare first happened, we made sure we had policy and procedures in place, so I was prepared. We had to get a bunch of resources overnight from epidemiology and the Department of Health; we had to alert the media; alert the fire department. There were a million things to do and I was in charge of the whole thing. People turned to me for guidance, and I knew I had to know my job and know it well. In the end, we did a great job handling the case and the patient had positive outcomes. That was probably the highlight of my career so far. I was on the cover of our newsletter after the incident and got a lot of accolades and respect, including from executive leadership, who I highly admire.


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