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Steps to Become an Interim Leader in Healthcare

June 23, 2023

Steps to Becoming an Interim Leader

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve in a post-COVID world, healthcare organizations are turning in earnest to interim leaders to support current and future goals and initiatives. With turnover rising amongst healthcare executives over the past two years—due to retirement, leadership reshuffling, and other factors—these organizations are seeking experienced leaders to take the helm and guide them through uncertainty to a strong future. 

If you are a healthcare leader in a permanent setting who is looking for new challenges in your career as well as provide the value of your experience to new organizations, the heightened opportunities in interim leadership might be the right move for you. To help you discover the advantages of interim leadership roles, we’ve put together some key steps to make a smooth transition. 

Whitepaper: Interim Leadership on the Rise Amid Executive Exodus

How to Become a Healthcare Interim Leader

Gain Experience and Expertise in Healthcare Leadership


Healthcare leadership experience is a crucial component of a successful interim leader, as this role will thrust you into unique challenges with new operational, personnel, and patient care situations during the course of your duties. While a strong baseline of healthcare expertise is a significant carryover into interim leadership, building leadership skills in your current role will help prepare you for success. 

Developing leadership skills can happen through multiple avenues and depends on the circumstances in your current position—if available, volunteering for leadership positions will earn you valuable experience addressing common situations that may arise in your role as an interim leader. Additionally, you can gain insights from seeking mentorship from other healthcare leaders or tapping into the many resources available outside of your current job—leadership courses and workshops are effective ways to learn from industry experts and other aspiring leaders. 

Develop a Strong Professional Network

Another crucial recipe for success as an interim leader is building a strong professional network within healthcare. Establishing connections with other leaders and healthcare peers can provide you with unique perspectives and points of view about the challenges and opportunities facing healthcare organizations, and foster collaborative relationships as you navigate your leadership role. 

A strong network starts with the people you work with in your current role, including coworkers and leaders you interact with daily. However, you can develop your network further by attending healthcare industry events, joining and participating in professional organizations, and connecting on social media. While networking can help you open new leadership opportunities, it can also be a significant source of knowledge and help expand your influence across the healthcare field.

Partner with a Healthcare Staffing Firm

When you’re ready to start your search for interim leadership opportunities, you have ample resources available to assist you. Partnering with a reputable healthcare staffing firm is an excellent way to put your career goals into action—sharing your experience with recruitment experts, exploring nationwide interim leadership opportunities, and finding the right job placement to match your needs. 

B.E. Smith takes pride in our personalized approach to matching interim leaders with the right roles for their career goals. Our expert executive search team works collaboratively with candidates across the country to offer a wider range of opportunities and ensure a smooth transition into the new roles they fill. We understand that starting a new role in an interim capacity presents unique challenges, so supporting you throughout your interim assignment is a paramount focus in helping you succeed.


Prepare for the Interim Leadership Role

Once you find the right interim leadership role, your preparation and attitude will become the building blocks to sustained success. Preparation starts with understanding your new organization—researching the values, missions, and perspectives of your organization will help you start your role with the right mindset. This, along with familiarizing yourself with the expectations and responsibility of your role, provide the foundation for a strong plan of action for your new assignment. 

In the early stages of your new assignment, your success will be tied to how you embrace your interim leadership role, from day-to-day responsibilities to the big picture for your organization. Building relationships with your staff and other stakeholders right away will showcase your passion for and investment in organizational success, establishing approachability to the people you lead. As your organization evolves under your influence, communicating effectively and demonstrating adaptability will not only help you meet challenges head on, but also exemplify the qualities that your staff look for in their leader.

Interim Leadership Can Boost Your Healthcare Career

B.E. Smith and AMN Healthcare Executive Leadership Staffing have more than two decades of experience and success, having placed more than 2,500 interim healthcare executives since 2000. Many have been with B.E. Smith for years and, in a recent survey, 95-percent said they were satisfied with their partnership due to the benefits they are able to enjoy.


Interim leaders are able to experience the best parts of temporary engagement with full-time employment benefits, including an independent and flexible lifestyle, full benefits, expenses covered for travel, lodging, and business, and higher earning potential.

If you are a permanent healthcare leader interested in applying your years of experience to new and evolving healthcare challenges while making a lasting impact on organizations nationwide, a career in interim leadership might be a fit for you. B.E. Smith currently has open interim leadership positions available across the United States, from the C-Suite to the surgical suite.

Contact B.E. Smith Healthcare Staffing for Interim Leadership Opportunities

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