ASJ Anniversary

10 M EDICAL HISTORY has shown that surgeons have always been given the task of administrators, this is not only a local phenomenon, but reflects the trend in the International health community. There is the expecta- tion that surgeons will not only excel as clinicians, educators and researchers, but also as leaders of the health team and, ultimately, administrators. Global changes in the delivery of healthcare demand that some academic surgeons be- come as skilled in administration as they are in operative surgery.Whilst excelling in this additional role, the value of surgeons as administrators has been commensurate with the advances in technology and admin- istrative processes. Formal training in hospital or business administration is absolutely necessary. The timing of the entry of the surgeon into the administrative role is very important in an effort to achieve a successful outcome. The surgeon should first focus on developing and excelling in his/her clinical practice and research, and become established as an expert in their chosen field, which is essential in gaining the respect of both the academic community and the wider health team. Your colleagues will need to have that confidence in you and your abilities before following your lead in the management and development of the health services. A young surgeon, yet to be estab- lished, may find that this new role may adversely affect their academic and clinical growth, and later lead to disillusionment and frustration. Alternatively, embarking on an ad- ministrative role later in one’s career may be problematic, as the advances in technology and administrative systems may become too onerous to effect a satisfactory outcome. It is therefore important that a struc- tured, careful selection of persons to adopt a career in administration is pursued, rather than selecting young,enthusiastic candidates, who may be better advised to develop a track record of clinical successes whichwill ease them seamlessly into the administrative position. It is important that as an admin- istrator, you have a clear vision of the direction your institution should take and adopt a strategic plan, which clearly outlines the methodology of effecting change and the means of achieving these ends. Initially, it is useful to select ‘low-hanging fruits’(easily achieved objectives), as the successes achieved will build confidence in your team and ensure continued interest in the long-termobjectives. The buy-in by your staff and recog- nition of their successes is essential to a successful outcome and ensures the maintenance of enthusiasm in meeting all the stated targets in the expected time frames. An administrator must be careful not to appear todo everything alone; delegation of responsibility to care- fully selected persons is oftentimes the key to the overall success of pro- jects and programmes. There is one attribute of an administrator which stand out above anything else, and that is the ability to have open and effective communication skills. Clear communication avoids misunder- standing and misconception of the roles and responsibility of your staff; however, do not ignore the need to listen. Listening to all staff and col- leagues you represent is vital to your success as an administrator. The years of surgical training, with an emphasis on detail, continued monitoring of activities, precise decision-making and the willing- ness to take on full responsibility for projects and outcomes, makes the surgeon an exceptional can- didate for the role of an adminis- trator. However, it is important to bridle enthusiasmwith reality when seeking positions of authority, in an effort to ensure a successful career as an administrator. TREVOR McCARTNEY Former Senior Medical Officer Kingston Public Hospital The role of the surgeon as an administrator THE GLEANER | SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 2019 ASSOCIATION OF SURGEONS IN JAMAICA 60TH ANNIV SARY FEATURE: THE SUNDAY GLEANER MAGAZINE | MARCH 3, 2019