Wednesday, August 7, 2013

In my next life, I want to be a management consultant

I once blogged that in my next life, I wanted to be reincarnated as a weatherman. You get to make predictions and have no accountability when they are wrong (except for one Washington, DC weatherman who was given a "time out" after an erroneous forecast).

I know it can be stressful when you have to stand on the beach in front of a TV camera and try to keep your cap on during a hurricane.

But even so, it seems a bit easier than being a surgeon, a job which is very stressful and carries strong penalties for errors—especially for the patients.

Another occupation that is similar in circumstances and results to meteorology is that of management consultant. They advise, and they leave. They don't see the aftermath of their actions nor do they suffer the consequences. They also make a lot of money.

A few years ago, a group of consultants convinced a hospital's administration that it would be a good idea to totally reconfigure the nursing service. Among their numerous recommendations was that all of the staff nurses should be let go and then encouraged to reapply for their jobs.

To the surprise of only the hospital administration (not the consultants who were, of course, long gone or many others who thought the plan was ludicrous), the nurses were less than enthusiastic. In fact, they were insulted. Many simply found jobs elsewhere. Several floors were left without experienced staff. It took years to recover from the damage.

Maybe I shouldn't even wait for reincarnation. I am thinking about becoming a consultant right now.

So I am officially a consultant.

Please feel free to contact me for any problems your organization might have even if your hospital receives a low ranking from the Skeptical Scalpel Institute. I expect a handsome retainer in advance.

As a change agent, I will meet with all thought leaders, stakeholders and occupants of the C-level to discuss strategic planning (as opposed to regular planning), throughput, low-hanging fruit, leveraging value streams and core competencies.

If you don't speak "Consultant," definitions of terms used in my last sentence can be found here in the Business Jargon Dictionary.

The Skeptical Scalpel Group. Our motto is "I came; I consulted; I left."


Richard Winters said...

Next steps:

-inverted pyramid diagram
-liberal use of the words "turn-key" and "value"

Feel free to glean marketable phrases from the Healthcare Management Robot:

"Our front-line staff endeavors to synthesize turn-key physician alignment amidst multidisciplinary paradigms."

"We need to brand collaborative workflow enhancements alongside dynamic service-lines"

"Our directors endeavor to incubate gold-standard methodologies for leading-edge SBAR documentation." -

Yours truly,

Richard Winters MD
Healthcare Management Consultant Consultant

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Thanks, Richard. I am also the vice-president for talent and culture. I think you would be a good fit for us both vertically and horizontally.

Scott Tobler said...

In order to align with best practice and to take a shared governance within our community to provide a fiscally responsible service as we aggressively exam costs, we have undergone a lean redesign process to help us provide a collaborative synergistic team approach to strategically propel us into being stewards of our resources, promote social justice and building a scalable real-time responsiveness.
Strategic analysis and drilling down into value added metrics will create a patient-centric movement that will create a framework for future redesigns to become justified and tear down the silos that take away from the inalienable right to have perpetual follow-up conversations.
Let's put this to the parking lot, form a subcommittee and take it offline for future discussions.

Scott "Tobee Wan Kenobi" Tobler

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Tobler, thanks so much for sharing your robust knowledge of corporate speak. There may be a place for you at the SSI too.

reepRN said...

Throughput is my favorite! How about "moveout?" or "Moveup? Getout? Shutup?"

Libby said...

This reminds me of last season of "Grey's Anatomy" where a company bought their hospital and had all these silly (to normal people) ideas that just weren't feasible (not even in TV land).

In broadcasting, consultants have destroyed entire radio stations by messing with successful formats and suggestions that were made by people who obviously knew very little about radio (as my hubby says about 99% of consultants, "I've forgotten more about radio than you'll ever know")

DD said...

My spouse was a Management Consultant for many years early in his career (he is now a CEO who frowns on hiring consultants). What I gleaned from past work discussions, is that productivity problems can develop when managers lack the basic skills necessary to run a given work environment. Managing groups of people is challenging, like coaching a team. Not everyone is good at it.

Consultants are paid to make expert,objective assessments of the work environment with a focus on results. Like giving a second opinion.

Eventually though, my spouse moved on. Looking back he summed it up this way; consulting is borrowing someone's watch to tell them what time it is.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Libby, I don't watch medical TV shows (or any other TV shows), but I'll try to find that episode.

DD, I love your spouse's description of consulting.

Bob from Surgery said...

Not everyone can make sense of numbers on a circle. That's why they became managers.

Anonymous said...

Watches? What are they?

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Bob, good comments.

Many managers and hospital administrators that I've known can read digital clocks fairly well, although military time often befuddles them.

I have not worn a watch for more than three years. Every appliance in my house has a clock and everywhere you look in a hospital, there's a clock.

Anonymous said...

You have it wrong.A consultant can be criticised for a bad report.
You need to be the hospital head honcho who incapable of bringing anything of substance to the rabble hires consultant after consultant spending heaps of money that should be providing medical care for patients.
They are the ones who get well paid and have no.accountability

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Anon, thanks for commenting. I have never seen a consultant criticized. To do so would suggest that the people who hired him made a mistake, which is something that hospital administrators never do (that is, admit they made a mistake).

I do agree that even when that get fired, hospital CEOs, like corporate CEOs, get nice separation bonuses whether they did a good job or not.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you in terms of meteorologists having no accountability. If the NWS misses a tornado or a flood warning, it could have devastating consequences. The science behind meteorology had changed significantly over the last century. For example, the touchdown site for hurricane Sandy was predicted to within 30 miles THREE DAYS OUT. The amount of money meteorologists save tax payers is immense, and the countless lives they save are immeasurable. Please have a little more respect.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Anon, thanks for commenting. I agree that a missed forecast can cause big problems for citizens.

But what are the consequences for the meteorologist? Do they ever get sued? If so, it must be very uncommon.

1 of every 14 doctors is sued every year. About 90% of doctors will be sued at least once during their careers. 17,000 malpractice suits are filed against doctors every year.

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