By Anna Horner | News & Views
Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) programs need strong leaders to engage staff and navigate post-COVID-19 staffing issues, care limitations and other challenges. It is important that CR professionals understand different leadership styles, when each type is most effective to utilize and how to adapt leadership styles to various situations. They also need tools that can be implemented immediately to maximize their leadership strategies.
Adam deJong, MA, MAACVPR, vice president of operations at Lee Health Heart Institute, and Janelle C. Swank, RN, MSN/MBA, senior nursing quality coordinator, patient quality and safety, east region at Munson Healthcare, identify effective leadership and staff retention strategies and how to employ them in the current VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment. “Regardless of service line or department, you want to make sure that you are providing the best leadership,” deJong says.
To help CR professionals do just that, deJong describes the qualities associated with strong leadership, the most common leadership characteristics and how CR professionals can discover their own leadership traits. “I hope that by learning what those characteristics are, it’ll lend the opportunity for people to better identify leaders within their own groups, help facilitate strong leadership throughout their CR programs and identify the characteristics they may possess that would help them in their own leadership journey,” says deJong. “And if they’re missing some qualities that they feel they could attain through additional training or education, they can work to achieve those characteristics to become better leaders.” Additionally, deJong explains the impact of strong and effective leadership on team performance, creativity, collaboration and the ultimate success of CR programs. “It is extremely important to identify the characteristics and leadership skills that will help develop the best leaders possible to guide the program,” he says.
Meanwhile, Swank suggests ways CR leaders can connect with staff to boost retention in the post-pandemic VUCA world and provides actionable strategies and tools they can use right away. “Retention is difficult with staffing shortages right now, so it’s critical for leaders to know how to connect with their staff and help them grow,” she says. Swank notes that CR professionals sometimes use exercise physiology as a step in their career, but “if you keep innovating and keep them on the edge of new, advanced best practices so they’re really excited, they won’t see it as much as a steppingstone; they may really want to stay.” It’s that kind of engagement, Swank adds, that she and deJong highlighted in their recent AACVPR webinar.
Swank developed three tools, based on extensive research, that are introduced in the webinar, which launched as a livestream on November 16 and is now available online. Those resources include an engagement tool, an innovative meeting tool and a risk assessment tool. “It’s a ‘get the tools in your hand and try it’ kind of webinar,” explains Swank. “The tools are highly effective and really energize staff.” CR professionals will benefit from the webinar, she adds, because it aims to help them determine the type of leader they want to become and then create an action plan for what to do next.
Check back soon for a link to the recorded webinar.