What Is It Like to Be an Interim Veteran?

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in The LFT Blog | 3 comments

Many of you may have considered hiring or working as an interim leader. With seven different interim assignments under my belt, LFT refers to me as a “veteran” — and the challenging but rewarding nature of the work can certainly make me feel that way. LFT has asked me to guest-host the newsletter today to fill you in a bit about what interim leadership is all about.

I was prompted to consider interim work when I was an Associate Chief Nursing Officer at a small critical access hospital. I received a phone call from a recruiter looking to fill a “transitional leader” role, and it intrigued me. The recruiter explained that stepping into a role such as this requires a great deal of operational management experience and the ability to hit the ground running in a previously vacant leadership role. I love this type of intensive work: stabilizing programs quickly and efficiently and creating a plan to pull it back together.

I have since done seven engagements, and they have varied greatly: Director of Oncology and Telemetry Nursing to Director of Vascular Step Down to three separate times as a Director of Care Coordination (among others). The hospitals were all of different sizes and played different roles in their communities — everything from a small community hospital to tertiary care centers. The work continues to be intense, rewarding, and varied (and clearly, I can’t get enough)!

These assignments are almost always under circumstances where the hospital needed someone YESTERDAY, so I typically go in and spend the first month finding out as much as I can. I learned the most from the Pharmacy Quality Director position at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Kansas, home of some of the best healthcare professionals I have ever met. I had never worked in a pharmacy, am not a pharmacist, and here I was, with my job to figure out and fix their needs. It dawned on me that I needed to find “it” with the team: that tangible opportunity to help improve the system for everyone. I focused on the process of medication administration from end to end, discovered the waste of some very expensive medications, and we were able to turn that process around.

My advice to you if you are considering interim work: your knowledge and creativity will carry you far. Use all of your past experience to help move other organizations forward – don’t just tell your hospital about what you have done in the past. The community you have been asked to assist employs people who want to make it better and do the right thing. Every day you should help them do that, and consider what you do a service that helps patients receive the best care possible.

And, this will not come as a shock, but LFT is a great home for interim talent. They go above and beyond for their interims, from sending welcome packages and birthday cards to countless other smaller gestures of support. Give them a call if you are looking for interim talent or are interested in an interim opportunity! (781) 782-2295.


Irene Hadley
Interim Executive, LFT


  1. I am interested in what interim leadership positions within surgical services you may have available. Please advise as to status.
    Regards, Lori

    • Hi Lori! You can find a list of our openings under the “job openings” section of our site here.
      One of our recruiters will also reach out to you this morning to discuss. Have a great day!

  2. Awesome article Thanks for sharing.