Travel with Michelle as she jet sets across the country and balances her personal life with life on the road. The healthcare industry is changing rapidly and she is one of many change agents that are helping transform how healthcare is managed and delivered.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I started as a Consultant for a large consulting and outsourcing company and was recently hired by the client to continue my services on a long-term basis. In my current assignment, I act as a change agent in order to strengthen the health system’s ability to lead, adopt and sustain change.
Being a consultant requires travel up to 100% and may not be for you if you need structure or consistency. You have to be willing to travel as much or less as the client likes. Balancing your personal life with your life on the road is something you have to learn to manage.
WHAT ARE YOU LEARNING?
I’m learning about the client/consultant relationship and what it actually means to be a consultant. I’ve learned the necessity of being driven and self-lead to be successful in a consulting role. You must look for new things to learn so you can find new ways to add value. Be observant so you can identify the gaps and needs of the client.
Be confident when offering ideas and solutions, even if the topic is outside of your scope of work. People respond well to those who are eager to learn and are teachable, but also take initiative in driving for results and change.
A WEEK IN THE LIFE
Sunday Night or Monday Morning- If I travel to the East Coast, I fly out on Sunday evening. My east coast travels always seem to be during football season, so I get to catch the ESPN highlights late Sunday night. If I travel to the West Coast, I am up at 5 am Monday morning, out the door by 6 am, standing in the mile-long security line at DFW by 6:30 am.
Monday Morning – Again, depending on the coast, I am either: en route to a hospital, or in my hotel room checking emails and getting materials ready for our introductory presentation.
Monday Afternoon – I arrive at the hospital via my standard rental car, find parking, put on my badge and make my way to the hospital lobby to meet up with the rest of our team. We then meet the Engagement Lead for the hospital and he/she leads us to the boardroom so we can conduct our presentation. We kick-off the Impact Analysis by giving a two-hour long presentation on Meaningful Use and the changes initiatives that will be occurring at the hospital in the coming months. Our audience members include the C-Suite, Department Directors, and Physicians.
Monday Evening – Dinner and recap of the day’s events with our team. This is usually from about 6 pm to 8 pm. After that, I go back to my hotel and catch up on all of the emails I have missed during the day. I try to be in bed by 11 pm, but with the time change that usually doesn’t happen.
Tuesday Morning – Up bright and early, coffee in hand, driving the standard rental car back to the hospital. I will meet up with the Engagement Lead again, and he/she will show me to a conference room where I will be conducting interviews with key stakeholders regarding organizational change in their hospital. My morning is packed tight with back to back to back interviews.
Tuesday Afternoon – Hopefully by this time I have had about 5 minutes of free time to throw some food in my mouth, by this time I am sure the interviewees have heard enough of my stomach growling. My afternoon is a replica of my morning. I put on a smile and start the interview process again.
Tuesday Evening- Dinner and recap of the day’s interviews with our team. Dinner will probably end at 9 pm, then back to the hotel to do my real work from the day. I don’t like to have my laptop out during interviews (it is distracting and tacky), so I have a lot of emails from the day to filter and address. I also like to start typing up my notes, comments from the stakeholders interviewed throughout the day.
Wednesday Morning – repeat Tuesday morning, but with more coffee.
Wednesday Afternoon – repeat Tuesday afternoon and rinse with a Sugar-Free Red Bull.
Wednesday Evening – yeah, you’ve got it…same as Tuesday evening, just a different venue, and when I get back to the hotel, I pack and check the weather to make sure I can get back home without delay.
Thursday Morning – Up bright and early, luggage in the trunk, driving my standard rental car back to the airport. I usually try to utilize the 3-hour flight to assess what I think are risks to implementation at the hospital I just visited. I try to pick the top three to four and put together a 1,2 powerpoint slide. The slide will categorize the concern, describe the risk and then I will develop a change strategy to address the risk.
Thursday Early Afternoon – I get off the plane with fingers crossed that for once, just once! I have actually landed at the same gate that I flew out of…never happens. So I jump on the SkyLink and book it to where I parked. Word to the wise…smartphones have this thing called a camera where you can capture a photo of where you park, learn from my mistakes and actually utilize it. The last thing you want to do once you come off of a week on the road is spend two hours searching for your car…and the airlines can only look up a departing gate 24 hours post departure. Not that I know that from experience…
Thursday Afternoon – get home, unpack and start laundry. I like coming home to a clean place. Then I open up the old’ laptop and work on emails. I also start on the Key Stakeholder Analysis deliverable that our team is responsible for producing. It is basically a recap of the information we obtained from our interviews. It analyzes risk to implementation in areas such as Governance, Communications, Change History, Organization Culture and Standardization at the hospital level.
Friday all day – Expense reports, meetings, emails. Currently, I have 17 hospitals that I coordinate from an adoption and sustainment perspective. Any spare time or off weeks that I have is spent working on deliverables for all of these hospitals.