What led you to a career in healthcare?
From a young age, I knew I wanted to be involved in healthcare. Beyond putting bandages on teddy bears and wheeling them around my parents’ home as a child, my true fascination with the healthcare system began as a pediatric patient managing multiple chronic health conditions. Navigating the healthcare system quickly became a part of my everyday life. I was interested in how doctors, nurses and advanced practice providers did what they did and why.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your current role?
It’s rewarding knowing that every operational decision we make contributes to the betterment and support of our sterile processing front line. Sterile processing departments are the unsung heroes and gatekeepers of patient safety. The level of skill and attention to detail that technicians must possess to stay vigilant in inspecting surgical instruments before and after they are utilized in a clinical case never ceases to amaze me. As a board-certified patient advocate who has worked closely with a number of national advocacy organizations over the years, patient safety in perioperative and inpatient spaces continues to be a hot topic. I believe that when we think about keeping a patient safe, we think about the nurses who wash their hands before entering and leaving a room or the family member who speaks up when an patient transporter forgets to verify the patient’s identity before wheeling them to a test. But not too often the team of SPD technicians who work around the clock to ensure sterile instruments are used for bedside procedures and surgeries. Patient safety doesn’t begin or end once the patient is on an operating table. Patient safety is a byproduct of multidisciplinary, collaborative efforts that prioritize proactive measures to ensure patients achieve the best clinical outcomes possible.
What’s your best advice to keep leadership skills sharp?
I would say embrace the “gray space.” I’ve always been the type of person who likes to boil things down to the nuts and bolts of the process. I believe having a pull toward this type of thinking has served me well in some roles; however, we don’t live in a world where every problem can be easily reduced. Sometimes things exist in a gray space. By embracing the reality that I will not always be the person leading the charge in simplifying a complicated process—or that I will even know where to start—it allows me to be more productive and learn from the teams around me. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received is that ego is nothing more than a figment of your imagination, so why devote so much time and energy to maintaining a façade when you can be rolling up your sleeves, being vulnerable with your team and getting things done?