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Healthcare Leadership Now

A surgeon and emergency physician at work

No Leader Will Escape Unscathed. 

The Battle Has Just Begun.


In today’s rapidly evolving global situation, leaders must think differently and mandate that their troops approach problem-solving with a fresh set of eyes and a clear perspective, ensuring success. 

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quick decisions must be made.


Acceptance of imperfect action is better than no action. Your decisions will produce scars. View them as a badge of honor and participation rather than viewing them as shortcomings.  


It’s also important to celebrate small wins. Life in the trenches of medicine is challenging enough. 


With the current global viral outbreak, it is even more imperative to celebrate little moments of victory. Encourage your staff and applaud their efforts. Showing up is a testament to character and commitment – honor that.


Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude. Thank yourself and your staff for the remarkable daily effort.


It’s also essential to accept reality and humanity and one’s personal limits. The onslaught of patients, increasing wait times, and the potential of exponential inequality of care are upon us all.


Show up. Lead by example. Be a professional – that’s how you are built.


It’s also important to instill an ethos of antifragility in your team. Encourage thick skin and let the water roll off the back. As a leader, you will have the privilege of demonstrating this skill often.


People are and will be at their worst. Patients expect their providers to be at their best always and to take everything they dish out and not retaliate.   


While many administrators cite a policy of not accepting or tolerating abuse, the reality of what truly happens is often a far cry from that sentiment. 


With patient satisfaction scores, online doctor ratings, and Press Ganey scores, providers are forced to swallow their pride and put their most humble face forward. Don’t let the ego become the rate-limiting step.


The take-home point is to realize that it’s not about you.


Hurt people, hurt people. 


Sick people are not in a position to be kind or compassionate. Accept this and do not hold or carry grudges -continue doing the work. 


It is your gift.


Acknowledge the fact that you and your team are doing the best that they can given the present circumstances with the current resources. Medicine is a fishbowl, and one must ignore those looking in from the safety of the shore in times of trouble waters. 


Leaders must recognize and embrace a culture of self-care. While it’s tempting to reward staff with cookies, pizza, and sugary drinks, this will do little good other than in the immediate moment. Many of our comrades will fall sick during this battle, and it will result in learning to play short. 


Most likely, you understand the critical elements of self-care. You instruct your patients on it daily. 


Sleep, meditation, exercise, hydration, and restoration are more critical now than ever. Empower yourself as a leader and your team by reinforcing empowering habits.


The current circumstances are evolving at an exponential pace. Trying to accomplish superhuman feats using outmoded systems and procedures will only lead to frustration. Don’t be afraid to bend the rules. Challenge the established paradigms and create new avenues, methods, procedures, tactics, and strategies that can be rapidly deployed to meet the demand head-on. 


You are a leader, and how you deal with the current circumstances has the potential to create legacy or infamy. 


Step forward into growth by being the leader your team needs today.


The choice is up to you. 

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About Mitchel Schwindt, MD

Dr. Mitchel Schwindt is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who practices in a variety of clinical settings. He completed his residency at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As part of Michigan State University, Butterworth was renamed Spectrum Health, and is one of the busiest level 1 emergency and trauma centers in the United States. He served as chief resident his final year. While there he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha, a prestigious medical honor society. He also devoted a significant amount of time working as a flight physician (helicopter) for an aeromedical company.

Dr. Schwindt has served on many committees and steering groups related to health care, quality and process improvement and was a former trauma program medical director. He serves as a volunteer physician for local sporting and martial arts events. He is a consultant and medical advisor to several dental groups and has developed protocols and policies related to medical issues in the dental practice.

Wellness and nutrition are a passionate interest for Dr. Schwindt. He writes extensively on the subject and has published several related books. He is a member of the A4M – The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and is currently pursing a functional and sports medicine fellowship.

In his free time, he enjoys competing in triathlons, skiing, water sports, time with family, foreign travel and pursuing entrepreneurial activities.