Take your playbook and 'throw it out the window': 1 admin on leading during COVID-19

Leading an ASC has never been easy, but leading one during uncertain times can be like navigating without a roadmap.

Carla Lauenstein, RN, administrator of Southwest Lincoln (Neb.) Surgery Center, told "Becker's ASC Review Podcast" that acclimating staff to daily changes is key.

Note: This is an edited excerpt. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Question: What is it like to lead through [the COVID-19 pandemic]? 

Carla Lauenstein: It's like no other, this last year and a half. You basically take your ASC administrator playbook and you just throw it out the window. You have your day to day, [the routine] you typically follow, and then you just have these curveballs that come thrown in. What I've tried to do is really be as communicative as I can with my staff, let them understand that this is an evolving situation. 

But there are some responsibilities that we have as the leaders of these facilities. Sometimes our hands are tied. We don't have those choices — federal mandates, reporting guidelines — and then other times we have a little bit of choice. So we still try to keep some of those choices involved, but they do need to understand that sometimes it's just not up to us. 

I think if you lead with the mentality that things are going to change, possibly tomorrow, but here's where we are today, the staff can be a little more relaxed on that. Maybe just get used to that type of new culture, rather than leading from, "This is the way it's going to be."

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