By Kate Fenner, PhD, RN

The resignation or beneficial turnover of a vice president, department director, or even unit manager usually merits consideration of appointing an interim to fill the vacancy. Determining where an interim is critical, when an interim is critical, why an appointment is imperative, and who should serve as an interim are all important factors in the decision to go outside the organization and seek professional interim management.

Hiring an Interim: Where?

Hospitals have many critical departments, services, and units but some are more critical than others. Let’s call these “mission-critical” services—that is, the mission of the hospital would be severely compromised if these areas were to perform suboptimally.

The Emergency Department

An example of a mission-critical service is the Emergency Department. The ED is the second “front door” to the hospital, as a significant percentage of ED patients are admitted. Moreover, the ED presents an opportunity to get customer service and community relations right when well managed.

Specialized Knowledge Delivers Results

Perhaps the preeminent reason for an ED interim is the specialized knowledge that managing an ED requires. These considerations are similar in many departments and services; from women’s services to perioperative services to sterile processing to laboratory to psychiatric services, management of these areas requires clinical knowledge of the service delivered combined with management acumen and experience.

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