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Adventures in Sleep

Becoming a Multicenter Sleep Lab: The Challenges

Published June 30, 2011 9:15 AM by Amy Reavis
Growth is hard. Our lab is planning its first offspring.  It is exciting but a little distressing.  I am learning that when you work with people who like to have control, you have to stand up for what you want. In the end, you will get what is best for the patient.  (It has taken me a while to learn this.)

I have not been allowed to go out and see the building.  I have no control over what it will look like. So I have had to let that go.

I do have control over what equipment we will buy and who will be working at that lab.  I can insist on a clean and a dirty utility room and on a washer and dryer.  I have even insisted on good sheets and blankets and pictures for the walls. 

So why do I say growth is hard?  Well, there is a certain amount of balance that you get when you have been running a lab for 3-plus years. Adding new beds and new doctors to the mix means you have to accept that there are going to be changes. 

There is the increase in work we will be doing based on sales projections (which we all know are basically a guess).  There are staffing issues including who can work on their own and what happens when there are no studies. 

Mostly, I'm learning to change my leadership style to give more responsibility to people.  I hate to micromanage but I like to know what is going on with all my patients.  I will not be able to do this with the new facility. I will need to create higher expectations for some of my technicians.  I have some great techs who are go-getters and I have some techs who are excellent techs, but do their job and that is it.  They do not study and look to improve.  So I keep encouraging the go-getters and I try to help the others find their niche.  But as we grow, I will need to not necessarily promote those who have been here the longest but those who have made the most consistent improvements. 

All I know is that I need to find the balance of moving from a small one facility lab to the next step: a multi-facility organization challenging.  I think I am up for the challenge.  I know that it will go smoother if I am aware of my shortcomings and learn from those who came before me about how to make this transition successfully. 

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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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