Archive April 2018 XIX, No. 4

Staffing: Help Tomorrow's OR Leaders With Their Capes

Take the next generation of surgical superheroes under your wing

Leslie Mattson

Leslie Mattson, RN, BSHM


Cape Wearer
PASS THE BATON If your cape is torn and tattered, you're in a great position to mentor a new surgical leader.

Being in a leadership position is, for lack of a better word, challenging. No offense to those non-surgical leaders who may start their day at, say, some late hour like 8:30 a.m., and then maybe actually go to a restaurant for lunch, or grab a call from home, but surgical leaders are the superheroes of leaders. We go in early, often eat when we can at our desks and cover lates. We mop floors and help turnover. We are the IT department, the HR department, regulatory and compliance support, customer service, department manager, supervisor and staff relief. We are occasional housekeepers, security (always fun) and reception. This list is not in the job description.

I remember at the beginning of my surgical leadership career, on a very busy surgical day, having significant computer problems affecting the center. I had left a message for IT support at the corporate office (the center was partnered with one of the big players), and when they called back to (finally) help, they asked me to put on the person who manages IT. I asked them to hold, put the phone down for a moment, and got back on and said something politely snarky to get the message across that I wore that hat and they would need to work with me and my basic computer skills to get the problem fixed.

New kids on the block

I recently worked with some new surgical leaders. Their capes are new and pretty, without patches or frays or stains, freshly washed. I asked 2 of them about their perception of their biggest challenges. I'm not using their names to protect their superhero identities.

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