Building The Ideal Quality & Safety Department, Part II

The Soft Skills are the Critical Ingredient for a Quality Specialist

My series on “Building The Ideal Quality & Safety Department” continues with this post.

I’ll post information every Monday until we’ve designed an entire department. When the series is complete, we’ll have a monograph, a step-by-step model for designing your dream department – one that gets results AND one where every FTE can be justified by a solid business case. I’ll publish it as an eBook so you’ll have all of this information in one publication. So let’s take a look at the soft skills for your Quality Specialist.

The Soft Skills

The Quality Specialist (QS) must also have mastery of the “soft skills.” The soft skills are my number one hiring criteria. I can teach the technical knowledge, but not the soft skills.

The QS role calls for a natural extrovert who is a “people” person, diplomat, negotiator, mediator, and consensus builder.

They must be able to develop effective working relationships with physicians and nursing leaders, and manage difficult teams and personalities. They often find themselves facilitating discussions on the current evidence in order to drive consensus about medical treatments (evidence-based medicine) and nursing interventions.

The Best and Brightest

The QSs need to be among your organization’s best, brightest, and most energetic. They should be hardworking and well respected –  a rising star in your organization.

Once they are in your department, they are the person that other departments wish they had and often, they will try to hire your stars away from you.

Other key traits they possess:

  • They are optimistic and up for any challenge,
  • They don’t shy away from difficult situations, and
  • They can win over difficult doctors, nurses, and administrators.

Passion is Critical

Their self-driven passion is the reason they come to work. They enjoy it, they live for it, and they’re connected to a deeper purpose—to serve our patients and make their care the best, safest care in their community, region, and nation. Trust me, find these people and you’ll be rewarded with incredible progress time and again. Settle for less and your results will be less than ideal.

I am passionate about this role and firmly believe that finding the ideal candidate for the QS role will make or break your success as a quality leader. It is a determining factor in whether you’ll be in the 100 Top Hospitals or in the middle of the pack!

These folks are a critical part of your team—they are your passionate, enthusiastic trailblazers—and all of my success is because of these incredible people.