Conversation with Jane Armitage, Interim Clinical Consultant About Career in Senior Living & How COVID is Changing Landscape
Recently, our Interim Talent Solutions Team had the opportunity to interview Jane Armitage, Interim Clinical Consultant with MedBest. Jane shared why she has such passion to make a difference in the lives of seniors and how COVID is rapidly changing the industry landscape.
Jane…Please tell us about yourself and what attracted you to a career in Senior Living?
I started my career as a Registered Nurse in the hospital setting working on the Medical/Surgical floor and then transferred to the Emergency Room. A small nursing home chain, with a visionary CEO, looked for talent beyond industry experience and hired me as their Nurse Consultant/Director of Nursing. I was unaware that the industry was so regulated and learned very quickly how intense it was. I loved working with elderly patients and anytime I was in their room, I would be so interested in their family photos and saw how interesting and joyful their lives were. I wanted them to continue to have joy in their lives. So, I was all in …. dedicated to long term care and the care of the elderly.
I was promoted to the V.P of Clinical Services and enjoyed the opportunity however, something was missing. I decided to obtain my Administrator’s license because I also enjoyed the operational side of the business. I worked as an Administrator for a few years and was then promoted to Regional Director of Operations. As it turns out the combination of having both the nursing and administrator /operational experience has been invaluable in my ability to assist buildings as a consultant.
Why did you decide to become an Interim Clinical Consultant?
While I was at Hillhaven I met an Administrator working in the company. We both had such a passion to make a difference in the industry and saw the need to assist other buildings with either a crisis or as they called it then “quality assurance”. We believed in performance improvement and infection control in real-time rather than projects at the end of the month. We had the “performance improvement” mentality before it became popular. We would go into buildings together as Consultants, DON or Administrator, and bring the teams together, improve current practices in the facility, and improve the overall care and services.
What trends do you see in Senior Living due to COVID?
In a moment of crisis there is a moment of opportunity! COVID has had such great demands on the industry. Long-term care has limited resources compared to hospitals, but the expectations are the same. I believe it has shown that our industry is strong, resilient and can rise to the challenge. I believe technology will improve and help us reach a number of those expectations. However, our current technology has been invaluable. I can’t imagine this pandemic without it.
Additionally, Infection Control will be front and center because the spread of disease can be controlled with the proper infection control practices. Group activities may need to be done in small groups and communal dining needs to be reinvented. Physical distancing will be a prime consideration which may present more challenges in staff supervision. There are some companies who have adopted the model of neighborhoods, which provides a homelike setting with fewer number of residents in each neighborhood. However, it does require more staff to operate this model. Hopefully, the communication and expectation between the continuum of care changes. We need concise communication and transparency. Lastly, moving residents though the continuum continues to be challenging during the pandemic and the patient pays the price.
How has COVID affected your career as an interim Clinical Consultant?
Consultants are often asked to evaluate the facility for what is wrong. My approach has always been How can I make it easier for staff to accomplish the goal? Very often the system is there, but it is not efficient. I believe people want to do their jobs correctly but cannot because the system does not work efficiently. I am not in favor of giving a facility a list of what is wrong because in my opinion, it adds more stress to an industry that is already stressed.
My approach is to look at the system, evaluate the system, and if there is something not working, I will offer solutions making the system effective and efficient. If systems are totally lacking, I collaborate with the leadership and develop systems based on their needs. I also make it a priority to collaborate with the team, observe their current system in question and make recommendations. I then create tools if needed and assist them in the implementation of the system. The facility now can audit to make sure the new system is being followed or adjusted as needed.
What do you believe are the qualities and traits of a successful Interim Leader?
-Good Consultants offer concrete and specific information to solve problems or improve a process
-Knowledgeable and good communication skills
-Proficient in Word and Excel
Thank you Jane for your time. We admire your leadership and appreciate your insights.
MedBest is a national Executive Search Firm exclusive to the Senior Living Industry established in 2001. We recruit and secure quality executive talent, for both permanent and interim positions, within the full continuum of long-term care including Independent Living and Assisted Living.
Our Interim Solutions Division specializes in Interim Executive Director, Interim Assisted Living Administrator, Interim Director of Nursing, Interim Director of Resident Services, Wellness Director and Interim MDS Coordinator.
Contact our Interim Solutions Division to fill an immediate Interim position or to find an Interim opportunity at email@example.com / 727-526-1294. Also, connect with MedBest on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter @MedBestJobs and visit us at www.medbest.com