by Edith J, Conner, MS, CPCS, CPMSM


With over two decades of experience as a medical staff services professional, I have realized difficult times will often occur on an assignment. When I arrive on an assignment the list of things to know, absorb, filter and organize is endless. Add in constant vigilance to ensure accuracy and to advise expeditiously so as to avoid any gaps anywhere. This is the calling and our responsibility as medical interims at the hospitals we serve and it is certainly not one that comes without stress.


Inevitably things will go wrong on assignment in ways big and small. So how do we, as interims, react?


Getting angry doesn’t work. Becoming indignant doesn’t work. Arguing, knowing you are right – these things don’t solve the greater problems that we are here to solve in the healthcare organizations and clients that we are committed to serving. 


So what does?


I am sharing a few things that I have learned over the years to lean on when placed in a difficult position on assignment. It’s my hope that one will resonate with you.


  1. Return to your foundation by asking yourself some grounding questions that make you look at the bigger picture. These things help me zoom out of the myopic situation at hand. Some examples include: Why am I here? What are my core beliefs? What do I hope to get out of this time in the long term? What do I need to experience for this assignment to be a success in my eyes?
  2. Take time to “clean out and clean up”. This refers not only to my desk but also to my mind and psyche. Am I holding on to things that don’t work for me? Am I holding onto people and ways of behaving that don’t serve me any more? It’s important to throw away old and outdated ways of thinking and doing things that no longer serve us or the people around us. It’s also critical to remember that when something leaves our lives, it makes room to be replaced by something else in a matter of time.
  3. Remember that sometimes it’s best not to argue. Everyone, no matter what their view is, needs to be heard and feel validated. It is a human need that is universal. Most especially those you are disagreeing with need to be heard. So when possible, remember to talk less and listen more. You’ll be a much more effective leader.
  4. A positive attitude is contagious. Take a scan of yours and see if you can frame things in the positive. Your words will be more receptive if they come across as positive instead of negative.
  5. Be flexible. Remember that one person’s order is another person’s chaos – and vice versa. We all know that change is necessary to move forward.
  6. Celebrate the victories – both big and small. Find reasons for joy every day. Especially in a time of great need like what we are facing this year, it is a privilege to be in this profession and be able to have this impact on so many people’s health and lives.


Edith J. Conner, MS, CPCS, CPMSM has over 25 years’ experience as a Healthcare Medical Staff Professional.  In addition to Edith’s vast knowledge and expertise in her field, she attributes her success as a leader to her application of a systems approach to the teams that have been assigned to her.