Dr. Hauler wasn’t disappointed. She worked while completing the program online and travelling to Indianapolis for monthly residency sessions.
“I use the skills every day,” she remarked.
The insight she gained into financial analysis, accounting, economics, marketing, negotiation and healthcare IT plays a role in every administrative decision she makes. Importantly, Dr. Hauler feels the lessons she absorbed during the 21-month program are now instinctive, helping her confidently solve the challenges that stream in from all directions.
As she tackled more business-focused responsibilities and learned the most effective approaches, Dr. Hauler recognized a paradox between her two fields of study.
“In emergency medicine, you have to quickly summarize new information, make a decision and go. You always try to make the best decision at the time. Eventually you may realize it wasn’t a perfect decision, but waiting wasn’t an option, either,” she says. “In hospital administration, you need to step back, confer with colleagues and stakeholders, fully assess all sides of a situation and then make the best choice. I find I must reel myself in a little, pause and learn more about all facets of the problem to fully understand and solve it.”
Understanding all sides of an issue means gaining consensus and buy-in from staff—something many physicians aren’t trained to do in a doctors-call-the-shots clinical environment.
“We must learn to think outside of ourselves,” she says. “It’s no longer only about the physicians and patients; it’s about the healthcare team, which includes physician assistants, nurses, therapists, dietitians and social workers. That team is what’s best for the patient, and that’s been a huge learning lesson I’ve gained from this degree.”
As Dr. Hauler was wrapping up her MBA at Kelley, a chief medical officer position became available at a large healthcare system in southwest Ohio. With her leadership experience and her new degree nearly complete, Dr. Hauler was encouraged by a medical colleague to apply. She attended her last MBA residency session in Indianapolis on a Friday, graduated Saturday and, on Monday, began her job as CMO and vice president of medical affairs for the northern region of Premier Health out of Dayton, Ohio.
“I feel called to this role. I’m more passionate than ever about bedside care, even though I’m not practicing it, because I understand the frustrations and barriers physicians face,” she said. “Now I have this skill set to move these issues forward. My goal is always to make things better for the patient and the physician. To be able to marry my skills and move toward better alignment is at the heart of why I’m here.”
In her new leadership role, Dr. Hauler has come to realize that everything she accomplishes at the health system is through influence and relationships with her staff. With only two direct reports, she must work collaboratively with her staff, inspiring them to help her effect change.