Corner Office: The reason Cleveland Clinic Florida CEO rarely feels the need to recharge

Conor Delaney, MD, PhD, has served as president and CEO of Weston-based Cleveland Clinic Florida since October 2020, overseeing a system of five hospitals, a research center and numerous outpatient centers. 

Dr. Delaney brings surgical expertise to the role. He began his career at Cleveland Clinic more than 10 years ago on the clinical associate staff and served as chair of Cleveland Clinic's Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute until 2020. He is a colorectal surgeon and professor of surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University.

Here, Dr. Delaney answers Becker's Hospital Review's seven Corner Office questions.   

Note: responses have been lightly edited.

Question: What's one thing that really piqued your interest in healthcare?

Dr. Conor Delaney: I come from a medical family and was drawn to medicine from an early age. The opportunity to provide help to patients and the technical complexity involved drew me to surgery. However, I only decided to do colorectal surgery toward the end of my training, because of the variety of the specialty and the potential to help patients with conditions from complex cancers to inflammatory bowel disease. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about Florida?

CD: Florida is totally different to Ohio, where my family and I previously lived for 21 years. Southeast Florida is really exciting and dynamic, and the local attractions and opportunities to travel and spend time with family are exciting.

Q: If you could eliminate one of the healthcare industry's problems overnight, which would it be?

CD: The challenges of staffing across the Florida region and the nation. We hear about this for nursing all the time, but this is a problem for many job types, as people leave healthcare care because they are burned out. Caregiver staffing is something we have to work on as a society to keep healthcare for our communities strong.

Q: What is your greatest talent or skill outside of the executive office?

CD: I like to think it is relating to and dealing with people, because everything we do is all about the team, but I also have a lot of surgical expertise and have looked after patients from all around the country and taught laparoscopic and re-operative colorectal surgery throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Q: How do you revitalize yourself?

CD: I'm lucky that I enjoy what I do so much and working with our team that I rarely feel the need to recharge! When I am not working, my goal is always spending time with my family. This also allows me to pursue the outdoor activities I enjoy.

Q: What's one piece of advice you remember most clearly?

CD: First, focus on providing the very best care you can for each individual patient, and relate to each patient to the best of your ability. Secondly, focus next on your team and being the best part of your team that you can be — this is how you can provide the best care.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement at Cleveland Clinic Florida so far?

CD: Leading the organization through the worst COVID surge we've had since the pandemic began, an experience that has been incredibly complicated for our team. In addition, expanding services and specialties across the Florida region, particularly on the Treasure Coast, where we've brought in many very talented new physicians, often thought leaders and nationally recognized for their specialty areas. 

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