Skip to main content

Clinicians in the C-Suite

News  |  By Debra Shute  
   May 08, 2017

Cracolici also took on increasingly challenging administrative roles after beginning his career as a critical care nurse, and received his MHA while working as a chief nursing officer for a small community hospital. He then went on to hold titles including vice president of nursing and chief operating officer at various organizations before becoming CEO of St. Vincent Medical Center, home to 366 licensed beds and several specialty clinics.

The business skills he had to learn along the way largely surrounded healthcare economics and the nuances of running a hospital, he says. “A lot of our education was centered around how to understand the mechanics of the financial and operational issues, in addition to leadership skills.”

Cracolici is also a Johnson & Johnson Fellow at the Wharton School of Business. “The one-month immersion fellowship training was invaluable in further developing my understanding of complex organizational dynamics and the strengthening of problem-resolution skills.”

A 2016 survey by AONE also found that nurse leaders as a whole (not limited to the C-suite) who hold master’s degrees have higher earning potential. According to the survey, half of responding nurse leaders’ salaries fall between $90,000 and $149,999, while 61% of nurse leaders who have a master’s degree earn between $100,000 and $179,999 per year.

Still, it’s possible for clinician leaders to learn business skills on the job, as did Massingale and Noseworthy.

“I really wish I’d gotten an MBA early,” says Massingale. “I never did, but [TeamHealth] would have been farther down the road sooner if I did. Just learning business vernacular, understanding income statements, and having formal business skills earlier, versus learning by reading and on-the-job training, would have facilitated our growth,” he says.

Noseworthy agrees that advanced degrees can be helpful but are not a must for clinician leaders, especially with a dyad model. Mayo, like a growing number of other large organizations, provides in-house leadership curriculum.

“We have a very rich toolbox of leadership development, for physicians and administrators, from onboarding, self-assessment, mentoring, to tailored programs, such as a Leadership Challenge for administrators, a six-month action-learning program attended in collaboration with the physician/scientist partner, Noseworthy says. “It is designed to strengthen leadership skills and deliver a project. Administrators can also attend a multi-rater assessment that provides feedback to you as a leader. It is aligned with the Mayo Leadership Capabilities Model.”

A program tailored to physicians and scientists becoming chairs of departments is Mayo’s Physician Leadership Business Academy, a key development experience at Mayo Clinic, designed to elevate physician leaders’ business, finance, and strategic acumen, strengthening the important and unique physician leader and administrator dyad. “The attendees can expect a powerful cohort and action learning-based program, in which department/division chairs and high potential leaders will be able to apply content learned in real-time Mayo Clinic business challenges, Noseworthy says.

Drawing from her similar experience at the Cleveland Clinic, one of Hundorfean’s first goals upon joining AHN was to launch a leadership development program of their own. Its purpose is twofold, she explains. While institutional leaders identify top clinical talent to participate in the program and create a pipeline of future leaders, it also gives prospective leaders a chance to determine whether they’d enjoy an administrative role.

“We are still building the leadership development program, but conceptually it will have a number of programs targeting different physicians based on experience levels,” she says. “Our physician leadership academy programs will pair classroom learning with exposure to various roles and experiences within the healthcare setting.”

Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

Tagged Under:

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.