Filling an Unexpected Vacancy with an Interim Leader

With the unparalleled upheaval and stress that the world of healthcare has seen these past three years, many organizations face a greater-than-typical number of unexpected vacancies in leadership roles. The tumultuous times nudged some folks into retirement earlier than expected. Career advancement opportunities spurred talented employees to accept offers elsewhere. Furthermore, new positions have been created to manage the influx of procedural changes wrought by the pandemic. These and various other factors have all converged to create gaps during a time when effective leadership is needed most.

Cue interim leaders to the rescue. When facing any number of openings among department or unit directors—Director of Emergency Department, Director of Trauma Program, Director of Critical Care, Director of Med Surg, etc.—the use of an interim leader can be life-changing. The more unexpected the departure from your leadership team, the greater the impact an interim leader can have.

“Interim leaders have the ability to bring stability in leadership and drive clinical performance for an organization,” notes Jon Sammons, Director of LeaderStat Premier.Fresh ideas brought in by interim leaders are invaluable to hospitals alike in continuing to grow in how they operate.”

Many healthcare operators rely on interim leaders to quickly fill critical vacancies, rather than an already-stretched-thin staff. Doing so prevents the need to shuffle the staff to cover all the bases, a move that can further jeopardize staffing if, and when the remaining workforce either loses morale or walks away due to being overwhelmed.

Utilizing interim directors and managers can be advantageous in other ways as well.

  1. It allows time to make the best choice for a permanent hire.

An obvious perk is that using an interim leader squashes the need to rush towards a permanent hire. While an experienced interim provides stability and guidance, management can pour their time and energy into the pursuit of a department director who possesses the suitable skillset and chemistry to fit well with the company.

  1. Continuity of Clinical Operations.

Interim leaders give hospitals the opportunity to continue with their current clinical operations. There is important leadership that is needed to make sure that the quality of care is upheld in a department and that patients are properly taken care of. The financial impact also plays into the equation when you do not have someone with the expertise to monitor key indicators impacting the numbers.

  1. It offers a two-for-one perk.

Not only does the interim fill the vacant role, but he/she can also act as a consultant. The fresh yet experienced eyes of an interim leader can help improve processes, assess the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, noting anything and everything from where staffing levels are inadequate to the effectiveness of training processes to the morale of the workforce. Coming from an unbiased perspective, one not hindered by the goal of a long-term tenure, the interim can offer invaluable insights that will sustain a long-term positive impact.

  1. It kicks off a perfect situation for change.

Whether the change is a long-overdue restructuring, reorganizing processes and procedures, or simply a much-needed whipping-into-shape of a unit, department, or even the entire organization, an interim leader can be just the ticket.

When a fresh, new start is desperately needed, the most effective way to facilitate the necessary changes is often via a leadership change. Experienced interim leaders arrive energized for the task before them, again, profiting from the reality that their time on the inside will not be permanent. Whether tasked with getting the dormant ball rolling or turning over a brand-new leaf, the organization will benefit from the resources and experience a seasoned interim brings to the position.

When you are faced with an interim leader need, LeaderStat’s executive-level interims can make all the difference. The LeaderStat team will work with you to best understand the position you are trying to fill and provide an interim leader ready to step in so that your organization can continue to function at an optimal level.


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LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.