May, 2020

What's Next?

The first meeting of What’s Next was a lively and informative discussion of what people are experiencing related to the Covid-19 pandemic and what we are likely to see moving forward. The participants were from a diverse cross section of society including nurses, physicians, social worker, and several folks from outside of healthcare including an academic administrator, and human rights lobbyist. The central theme was that people are at various stages of accepting that the world has changed and will not be going back to the previous state because some of it won’t be possible, financially may not be viable, and frankly some people won’t want to go back but continue to use some best practices from this situation. Some of the key themes presented were:



    There is a battle between science, business, and politics which is affecting the narrative of what is going on and leading to an emergence of conspiracy theories. There are serious financial impacts to the current situation due to a reduction in ER use, face-to-face clinic visits, and elective surgery. Many hospitals are running at 60% capacity in their non-ICU areas. Reimbursement for things like telemedicine are saving money for insurers and self-pay patients, but not supporting the hospital budget.



    People are growing fatigued with the situation and become increasingly concerned about their personal plight depending on how secure their income and job situation is. It is very clear that the grieving process (Kubler-Ross & Byock, 2014) is in effect, as people go through denial, anger, bargaining, and finally reach acceptance. Several vulnerable groups were mentioned who the government is not addressing (the poor, Native Americans, Nursing Home residents, people with behavioral health issues, and underrepresented minorities).

    Most front-line workers are consumed with the tasks at hand and their leadership is also focused on day-to-day challenges, which is consuming time, energy, and leaving little room for higher order (Carpenito-Moyet, 2003) discussions and planning for the changing future. There is a need for addressing the psychological needs of people. Attempts by politicians and leaders to downplay what’s going on is further contributing to the emotional turmoil especially for front-line workers.



    Authentic leadership implies a genuine kind of leadership – a hopeful, open-ended, visionary, and creative response to social circumstances, as opposed to the more traditional dualistic portrayal of management and leadership practices (Begley, 2001).

    When it comes to survival, living in a group offers many perks, the most important one is the feeling of sense of safety and security that allows us to concentrate on making progress by not facing the threats alone. Organization leaders are reframing the dialogue using different approaches to the questions asked such as (Sinek, 2009):

  1. Why is this happening?
  2. How are we addressing it?
  3. What could we do different?

    Early Adopters (Rogers, 2005) are using consultants to guide the process of balancing what’s being lost with the potential for innovation. Those organizations will likely be the survivors and leaders of the new world being created (Bridges, 2005). People are more likely to resist the change the more they’re tied to the old way of doing things (Kuhn, 2012), but some people are embracing innovations like Zoom and telemedicine once they become comfortable with using it.

    The true leaders not only draw the circle of safety around their organization staff and community members but also determines just how far the circle extends (Sinek, 2014).



    Technology has been thrown at people as a temporary fix, with little time devoted to orienting people, thus resulting in resistance to adopting the approach (i.e. Zoom-based meetings, home schooling, physical distancing). There is some work being done besides trying to find a vaccine or medication cure, but involves looking at logistics, finances, and existing rules.

    On the higher education arena, some universities are looking at expanding on-line education due physical isolation needs, economics (cheaper to provide), and concerns that some students will not want to come back to a traditional school. Incidentally, it has been 3 months without a school shooting.

    As telemedicine goes mainstream, patients realize that access to telemedicine is far quicker than going to the ER. The administrators and clinicians are happy to see no-show rates have been dramatically reduced, and there is far less cross contamination from sick patients in waiting rooms.



Begley, P. T. (2001). In pursuit of authentic school leadership practices. International Journal of  Leadership in

      Education, 4(4), 353-365.

Bridges, W. (2004). Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes, Revised 25th Anniversary  Edition. Cambridge, MA:     Da Capo Press.

Carpenito-Moyet, L. J. (2003). Maslow's hierarchy of needs-revisited. Nursing Forum, 38(2), 3-4.

Kubler-Ross, E., & Byock, I. (2014). On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and

  Their Own Families. New York: Scribner Publishing.

Kuhn, T. S. (2012). The Structure of Scientific Revolution: 50th Anniversary Edition (4 ed.). Chicago: University of   Chicago Press.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition. New York: Free Press.

Sinek, S. (2009). Start With Why How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. New York: Penguin.

Sinek, S. (2014). Leaders eat last: Why some teams pull together and others don't. Penguin.



Saravana “Samy” Govindasamy is a success-driven, entrepreneurial leader with 20+ years of progressive experience in management, strategy, innovation, and technology consulting Samy has held executive leadership positions and spearheaded innovative enterprise-wide transformation programs/projects in excess of across the full continuum of care for medium and big health systems by establishing PMO/innovation centers using design thinking and agile methodologies. 

Samy also possesses Big 4 consulting experience. Throughout his consulting career, Samy has built a reputation for achieving bottom line results, effectively aligning business and technology needs, and leading and developing high-performance teams for Fortune 50 global organizations.

Samy’s educational background includes a Doctorate in Business Administration, Fox School of Business, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA, Master of Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Engineering. Samy holds Project Management Professional (PMP) and Lean Six Sigma in Healthcare certifications. 

Samy has published papers in refereed journals and has delivered professional speaking engagements in the areas of healthcare innovations, strategy, operations management, project/program management and process improvement.

Michael Grossman has been a nursing leader for over 40 years in a variety of clinical settings. Grossman is certified as a Nurse Executive Advance-Board Certified (NEA-BC) and Nurse Manager Leader (CNML). He has worked in a variety of roles including staff nurse, clinical nurse specialist, manager, director, coordinator of leadership development, and nurse entrepreneur.

Grossman is a frequent national speaker on a variety of topics including leadership, change, quality improvement, teamwork, and working with emotionally difficult patients and families.

Grossman earned his doctoral degree in management of organizational leadership from the University of Phoenix. He is a graduate of Widener University where he received his BSN and MSN in Emergency and Critical Care nursing. He also has a BA from Temple University in Psychology.



Comments (1)

Sona Mohan

By May 13, 2020

Interesting and Informative to read during this pandemic .Thanks for sharing .

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