From bedside to supply chain: How 1 nurse benefits patients behind the scenes

Not many clinical staff choose to leave the bedside to pursue supply chain, but for Shelon Anderson, BSN, RN, it was the right choice.

Ms. Anderson started her career as a nurse, a position she held for more than 21 years. Now, she is director of supply chain clinical transformation at Cincinnati-based Advantus Health Partners.

Here, she talks about her transition from nursing to supply chain and some of her accomplishments.

What piqued your interest in healthcare supply chain?

Shelon Anderson: The interest evolved over several years in the operating room. However, I think what piqued my interest the most was being able to impact patients in an indirect manner that is so critical to their care. Having clinical staff in supply chain provides a broader perspective on device utilization, surgeon needs, as well as needs for patients, which is the focal point of our work.

What are a few of your top priorities for 2023?

SA: We have several. As we are building out our services for Advantus, the most important one my team is focusing on is implementing a category management structure that will emphasize standardization of product lines, consolidation where it makes sense, and taking into account best practices, clinical standards of care, quality and physician preference as it appropriate. We are also strengthening our vendor partnerships along with looking into new technologies, the landscape of care for patients, incorporation of smart technology, AI associated programs, and making determinations on how we can continue to support our patients, but also navigate strong headwinds in the reimbursement and payer space.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your role as supply chain leader?

SA: My biggest accomplishment thus far has been implementing a successful spine hardware program. This was achieved through the lens of value analysis in which our parent company consolidated 49 spine vendors, in several aspects of spine, down to eight with a few product specific allowances, which in turn, netted greater than $8 million in savings for the organization overall.

We used this opportunity to collaborate with many of our spine surgeons across the ministry to provide expert opinion and input. We leaned on our quality teams, our finance teams for review, our sourcing team for contracting, operations, nursing, and our implementation teams for conversions and education. Due to the multidisciplinary work, it is for this reason I believe the program has been so successful.

If you could pass along a piece of advice to other hospital supply chain leaders, what would it be?

SA: Although there is a barrage of issues that arise each day, and much of the work is done behind the scenes, know that what you do is a critical component to providing excellent care to patients. The impact of supply chain was very much evident through the pandemic and although the critical aspect of that has dwindled, there are still some lingering effects that remain a concern. Know that the patient and providers are completely reliant on our daily work, so maintain that focus and understanding of how critical supply chain work is in healthcare. Think about how your teams would respond if another critical situation was to arise like the pandemic. Collaboration with a multidisciplinary team is critical for success.

What's the best piece of leadership advice you ever received?

SA: Embrace change and recognize that in order for us to remain relevant and competitive, we have to be able to pivot and change practice in an efficient and complete manner. There is always resistance to change, and it is important to understand staff concerns in order to navigate the change itself. I say all that to say, we know the one thing that is constant is change, and it sometimes can occur rapidly, so if we change our perspective, we will be able to navigate it much smoother and use our experience and vision to create something new.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars