Leading Care: Jason Malia and Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital
How did you rise to this leadership position?
I have had many different leadership experiences in my career. I have always been interested in leading teams, while in college or after. I have a drive to want to make things more efficient and do not accept things that cannot be done. I have been lucky enough to work on both coasts in leadership positions and while working and presenting my team’s work at a conference from a previous institution, it was noticed by colleagues and I was recruited into my current role. I enjoy making a difference.
Who influenced you?
I think the real question is who hasn’t? I have learned from so many different people I have surrounded myself with, from my wife or parents to my boss or colleagues at work. I believe in continuous learning and always changing and adapting my leadership methods. My own team of managers may influence me the most at work. I see them often; we have long conversations with great feedback to each other. I also work with a professional coach and a mentor both of whom are amazing at giving very direct feedback which has helped me be the version of myself I strive to be.
What are the issues you deal with and what’s the biggest challenge in your area?
In leadership, you end up dealing with every issue under the sun. No matter the level, Manager-Director-CEO, you end up the CEO of your area. On a daily basis I meet about HR issues, finance, clinical or quality issues. I try and put the most time into my manager’s development. It is how I gauge my own success – the success of my team. No one person can do it all and developing your team to be independent and goal driven is my key to success.
The biggest challenge I face in any leadership role is understanding and working with so many different personalities. Leadership is all about working with other people, understanding what is important to them, and developing mutually achievable goals.
How are you effective in your role? What’s critical to your success in the role?
I hope my team would tell you that I am not a micromanager on the day-to-day operations but am always available if they need me. I think that tied with a focus on developing my team to not need my approval for things in their area and developing a trusting relationship with each other makes me and them effective.
I am also heavily data driven, my team and other leaders around me know that. If you want to convince me of something, show me the data on how it will improve things.
How does innovation fit into your role as leader?
Where doesn’t it fit?! Embracing innovation should be at our core by now. When we function off old technology and use it incorrectly, we add so much work to our day that could be spent moving the ball forward. Innovation should make us more efficient, safer, and allow us more time to focus on ourselves and others around us. As a leader I see it my job to ensure we have the access to these innovations and use them the right way. We should not use innovation to add more on to the same people, rather allow them to become satisfied and more efficient in their job.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently on your rise to this position or while in it?
I do wish I had invested in myself earlier on. I thought of all the positive effects I could have on areas I led, but without knowing how to get them done. I was a doer and made things happen quickly but didn’t always know who I needed to have on my side to make sure they were successful and sustained. Having a good mentor and coach help ensure you build yourself to be a strong leader and know how to handle situations you may have never been in by using others who have had those experiences already.
What’s your advice to someone who wants to be a leader in their area of interest?
My best advice to someone going into leadership is ensure a few things, have a mentor outside of your reporting structure, invest in yourself – perhaps a coach (professional athletes and CEOs spend millions on coaching- start someone for yourself) and be careful if you are going from a role of a peer to a manager, this can always be challenging if you are not experienced in managing people.
What is your leadership philosophy?
Authenticity, Courage and Accountability. I will not say I am an expert in any of these, but I think if you hold true to these three things, you can be successful. Obviously, a lot more goes into being a leader, but if you are making decisions or mentoring others, keeping these in mind can inevitably lead you to a great decision.
What’s your hope for our profession?
I would like to see nurses develop and have the drive to change care and be leaders within healthcare. We are trained as selfless care providers there for others, but we must represent ourselves as a strong profession who can shape healthcare in our country. Any changes to healthcare inevitable effect nurses, whether it is the model of care or the technology used. These should be developed around those who are at the bedside and we should always have a voice to ensure our work is more efficient.
What thoughts would you like to add about the effect of the pandemic on your work? Do you foresee changes in the future, including opportunities for nurses where they can have a positive impact?
During the pandemic we recognized even the largest of organizations can move and change very quickly. I hope to see this mentality continue on some level so that we can move into more efficient care models that are best for the patients and those that care for them. I think this will inevitably lead to new areas of nursing, some we may not even know yet, but just like when the EHR was born and created all new divisions of nursing, I see more coming such as telehealth and the whole new world behind the curtain!