Permanent Role to Interim Leader: 6 Questions to Consider Before Making the Switch

Interim positions in hospitals are critical temporary jobs because vacancies in key leadership positions can touch every part of an organization. An interim healthcare leader will support everyday operations while the hospital searches for the right permanent candidate. Of course, attracting and hiring the right hospital leader can take months. Interim leaders help to build a solid foundation, which ultimately sets the permanent leader up for success in their new role.

If you've thought about transitioning from a permanent leadership position into an interim role, here are six questions to consider.


What’s your why? 
Some possibilities for why you'd like to make the switch include these 3 F-words: finances, flexibility, and freedom. Other motivations might be exposure to new health systems. You could also want to utilize extensive experience and expertise in quickly impacting teams in transition.


What type of interim leadership roles appeal to you? To figure this out:

  1. Consider what hospital environments you have thrived in, such as rural, urban, teaching centers, for-profit, nonprofit, trauma levels, union, and non-union places.
  2. Consider your specific clinical expertise and what motivates you as a healthcare leader.
  3. Look at what areas of demonstrated success you possess, such as coaching or mentoring, patient satisfaction, quality of care outcomes, efficiencies, implementing policies and procedures, building new service lines, and recruitment and retention.

 Where would you like to work as an interim leader? 
When choosing your desired location, consider whether you're licensed in a single state or a multistate/compact. Are you seeking adventure, scenic views, or perhaps a particular climate or area, such as close to bodies of water or mountains? Include whether or not you'd like to fly or drive to the location.


What about your finances, stability, family, and home life? 
If you're currently employed, find out how much notice you'll need to give. Most facilities are looking for interim leaders who can start their assignment quickly, within two to four weeks.

Interim leadership salaries can be lucrative but not necessarily steady between assignments, so review your finances to see if you could weather weeks of unemployment between the typical three- to six-month contracts. Discuss interim leadership with your family or support network to see if you could juggle your at-home responsibilities with a more extended assignment. Interim leadership roles usually build in trips home for long weekends every two to four weeks, so factor that into your chats.


What can you do to prepare for compliance/credentialing? 

  1. Make sure you have up-to-date, official documentation of medical records and immunizations.
  2. Prepare to schedule any required health screenings for your employer, such as a drug screening, a tuberculosis test and a physical.
  3. Contact your professional references to gather letters of recommendation (letters of recommendation should be current, within the last 12-24 months). 
  4. Collect your certifications, licenses, and degrees in one package to share with potential employers.

 How can you determine if an interim leadership recruitment firm is a good match? 
Evaluate the firm's benefits, including health, vision, dental, PTO, and holidays. Understand the recruitment process and if you will be paired with a dedicated recruiter. Would they be the point person for all communication? Find out whether the firm provides ongoing support during assignments and what type of roles and facilities the firm supports.


Whether you are looking for a leadership position, an interim role, or a permanent role in your state or beyond, LeaderStat can help. With more than two decades of healthcare recruiting experience, our team will work with you to find your next perfect position.



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