Why veterans make effective healthcare leaders

Filling out job application
Providers can benefit from adding veterans in leadership roles. (Getty/AndreyPopov)

Veterans transitioning to civilian life can be a boon for healthcare organizations and are especially good hires for systems undergoing change.

Consider the skills that make for a good leader and you can see why. A calm head under pressure is a must for anyone serving in the armed forces and anyone who wants to be an effective healthcare leader, as FierceHealthcare has reported. Strong leaders also have a clear vision for the future and “make peace” with the knowledge that they may face difficult situations—skills that can also be honed in the military. 

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Debra Plousha Moore, system chief of staff at Charlotte, North Carolina-based Carolinas HealthCare System, told Becker’s Hospital Review that veterans have already shown through their service that they are adaptable and willing to face uncertainty, which can make them especially strong healthcare leaders.

“A healthcare leader needs to uplift and serve people during times of joy, times of challenge, times of sacrifice and times of change,” Moore said. “Veterans in the workforce exemplify how quickly they can adapt to change—it's in their repertoire.”

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Russell Williamson, vice president and general manager of enterprise corporate accounts at Cardinal Health in Dublin, Ohio, told the publication that veterans bring a “keen focus” to leadership roles that can allow them to effectively accomplish goals, particularly in an ever-changing healthcare landscape.

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Carolinas has hired a veterans affairs liaison who works with their hiring team to translate veterans’ experience into applicable skills for healthcare work.

It's an important service, said Williamson, a veteran himself, because the transition to civilian life is “filled with unexpected twists and turns.”