A Day in the Life of an Administrator: Rob Taylor


Listen Before You Lead

Welcome to A Day in the Life of an Administrator, our online column, where we sat down with Rob Taylor, RN, BS, IP, clinical director and total joints coordinator at the Constitution Surgery Center in Waterford, Conn. Outpatient Surgery Magazine is posting these profiles to give the administrators in ambulatory facilities a voice – and to share, in their own words, what it is like to walk in their shoes. Their stories offer a glimpse into the significant role these individuals play on the OR team and the challenges they face as they work alongside their colleagues.

OSM: If you were to compare running a surgery center to any other profession, what would you say it is like?
Robert Taylor (RT): The best way to describe running a surgery center would be to compare it being the captain of a ship, a train or a plane. You need to keep that plane flying no matter what. I can’t think of too many other professions where you’re not only responsible for everyone’s safety [patients and staff], but you’re also always fighting issues and the logistical challenges of sticking to a super tight schedule. Surgical leaders need to have trust in their instincts to keep the ship afloat no matter what happens.

OSM: What is your go-to morale-booster for staff?
RT: I don’t have just one. When it comes to morale, there’s no such thing as a magic wand. It takes a variety of tactics to keep morale high, and the nursing shortage has made this task even tougher. A free lunch and snacks only go so far. Leaders need to give staff the recognition they deserve. If you want to consistently maintain the morale of your team, you need to make sure staff know they’re appreciated. The most effective way to achieve this? Doing everything in your power to adequately staff your facility — it’s a better morale-booster than all the free lunches in the world.

OSM: What is the most memorable comment a patient ever made?
RT: Over the past 20 years, I’ve heard a lot of things you can’t publish, but one of my favorites — one that still gets laughs whenever I tell the story — involved a total knee patient who had an infection. I was talking to the patient, and she said, “You know, I’m not really sure how it got infected because the dogs and the goats only licked it [the wound] a few times.” I did a doubletake when she said it, and after all these years, that comment still stands out.

OSM: What's the single most important lesson you've learned about running a surgery center?
RT: Surgery center leaders need to prepare themselves for anything. They need to know a bit about everything. Where hospitals have dedicated, siloed departments, ASC leaders can’t rely on others to handle those dedicated areas and the many tasks that go along with them. ASC leaders must be a nurse, an HVAC technician, a businessperson and whatever the center needs in the moment. Above all, an administrator must be a fair but effective leader.

OSM: What’s the strangest music a surgeon and or staff ever played during surgery?
RT: Every doc has their own preference, so more interesting than others, but the most unique playlist had to come from the GI doctor who always blasted Russian techno music because it reminded him of home. (Editor’s Note: Despite being exposed to the Russian Techno music for nearly decade, Mr. Taylor wouldn’t necessarily consider himself a fan of the genre.)

OSM: How do you unwind after a busy day?
RT: Across the parking lot from our center is a gym. Nothing beats 30 minutes of a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. That’s why I do this three-to-four times per week whenever I can.

OSM: Define strong leadership in five words or less?
RT: Listen, observe, discuss and act. That first one is so often a quality that is lacking in leadership, but you can’t effectively lead if you don’t first listen to your team and find out what they need to be successful. OSM

Note: Outpatient Surgery Magazine would like to thank Rob for sharing his life with us! On behalf of our team, we are sending a small token of appreciation to Rob and his OR team. If you are an administrator and would like to share your day and special insights for this online exclusive column, please contact our Editor-in-Chief Jared Bilski at [email protected]. Have a great day!

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