Steven Chu of Tampa General Hospital talks about leadership development

Each year, Modern Healthcare selects 25 emerging stars in the healthcare industry through its Emerging Leaders program, and each honoree is featured in an issue of the magazine and online. We spoke with Stephen Chu, Vice President of Service Lines at Tampa General Hospital, about how his position has changed and what his team is doing to provide healthcare in a city whose population continues to grow.

When did you first consider a career in healthcare?

As I reflect on this, I think of the long history of nurses and other healthcare professionals in my family. Caring for and supporting others has always been a part of my life. Initially, I studied biology and organic chemistry as an undergraduate student, but naturally I became interested in healthcare. I wanted to be close to patients and provide direct assistance.

You have been with Tampa General Hospital for over 14 years. How have your responsibilities changed?

It was an incredibly rewarding time. I have been able to expand my responsibilities by developing meaningful, respectful relationships at all levels of the organization. I am honored to know that I am making a difference by being personally responsible for the results of the teams and initiatives I lead. I had the opportunity to lead teams of up to 600 people. My career path exemplifies Tampa General’s commitment to supporting members of their internal team and providing opportunities for mapping and development throughout everyone’s career, whether they work on the clinical or non-clinical side.

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How have operational issues related to the Tampa market changed in recent years?

Tampa is an extremely competitive market that has grown rapidly over the past five years, with further growth predicted over the next decade. Population growth in Tampa has also accelerated due to the pandemic as telecommuting has become more common in many industries. Tampa General is one of the largest academic medical centers in Florida, so maintaining continuity of care, including primary care, ancillary services, and highly specialized services, is critical to staying at the top of the market. Our strategic plans for individual service lines are focused on keeping demand in line with this population growth with the tertiary and quaternary comprehensive services we provide.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I work on individual support and tailor my style to each team member and leader. I strive to provide enough openness and leeway to allow every leader to flourish and be authentic. It’s important to me to make sure they understand what approach and style is best for them. What has worked for me in the past and in my development is one of a million ways to make it work; I learned that there is no formula or secret book for leadership. My goal is to allow each of my leaders to find what works for them and their team, with coaching and support along the way to become influential leaders themselves.

Meet the Aspiring Leaders Class of 2022.

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