Road Warrior 2023 Nominee: Mary Ann Leodoro, MSN, MHA, BS, RN – Interim VP of Surgical Services
Road Warrior, Mary Ann Leodoro’s interim journey interview.
Q: What made you choose the interim lifestyle?
MAL: I was introduced to the interim world through a colleague. I liked the thought of being an interim because you bring everything that should and shouldn’t be done to the table. You keep up with the standards and the regulations, but it’s also an accumulation of life experiences.
Q: How do you distinguish yourself during interviews?
MAL: I talk about how I make decisions, patient satisfaction, physician and administration satisfaction, and relationships. The most crucial thing walking into an organization is establishing relationships. You can’t walk into an organization and just make changes. You must learn the culture and the pace. You must understand the deliverables. And then you start working with people so they can trust you before you give them any suggestions.
Q: What questions do you always ask before accepting an assignment?
MAL: I need to know why an interim is being brought in. Nine times out of 10, someone has been replaced. I want to know what I can do to avoid repeating those actions. Almost every organization that I’ve interviewed with has been very honest. It’s lack of accountability, lack of follow through, lack of direction. I want to know what they expect from me in the first month, 90 days, and six months, depending on the length of the assignment. I try to live up to that every day I walk there.
Q: How do you gain the trust of staff?
MAL: I introduce myself and listen. That puts their fears to rest. I’m here only to help make things better. I’m here to understand your culture. I’m here to bring you the most important standards of surgical services.
Q: Three years into the pandemic, what are some initiatives or strategies to increase revenues?
MAL: One of the keys to success in increasing cases is to look at block scheduling.
Extending OR hours to 5 p.m. or 7 p.m. Consider doing procedures on Saturday.
Q: What are some of the challenges of surgical care coordination, and what can directors do to make things smoother for patients, staff, and surgeons?
MAL: I think it’s understanding the throughput from when the patient is scheduled in the surgeon’s office to when the patient is discharged from the hospital. Make that process better. Some hospitals don’t even put patients on the schedule until they’ve verified the insurance. Work with them to see how that takes.
Q: Tips for improving FCOTs?
MAL: You can’t have a blanket solution. You have to understand why something is happening. Some staff blame surgeons, but that’s not always the case. Is the equipment ready? Are the carts ready? Is the team there on time? Are patients educated about when they need to be there? You need to look at all those variables before you put an action plan into place.
Q: Tips for lowering case cancellation rates?
MAL: Again, it’s studying the reasons why. Was the patient NPO or not? Maybe the patient was unable to find a ride to the hospital. Was it the fact that the patient just changed his mind? You have to understand your data first.
Q: Tips for your successor?
MAL: I think identifying people on the team who have both leadership skills and clinical skills. Many hospitals promote someone because they’re a good clinician but don’t consider leadership skills. If someone shows interest, they can work with me, attend meetings, etc. But it’s identifying that person for succession before anything else.
Q: Director of Surgical Services Tip of the Week?
MAL: Listen to the staff. They have excellent suggestions. It will be much easier for them to accept changes if they feel like they’re a part of decision-making.