The leap from clinical experience to a leadership position within the healthcare industry can be daunting. But leading doesn’t mean sacrificing your passion for providing excellent patient care. In fact, it means leveraging your clinical knowledge and skills to create an atmosphere of excellence that extends through multiple disciplines within your organization. Our clinical leaders play an essential role in helping Maxim Healthcare Services to provide quality services, meet regulatory standards and adhere to medical best practices.

Becoming a successful clinical leader requires dedication and commitment. However, making this transition can also open up opportunities for personal growth, creativity, problem-solving capabilities, impactful relationships with fellow clinicians and much more.

In this blog post, you’ll meet Dr. Marsha Plaine, an Area Vice President of Clinical Operations at Maxim, and learn about her journey from working as a nurse in the field to being a clinical leader and her advice for nurses looking to take the next step in their careers.

Getting started in nursing

Marsha has worked at Maxim for 19 years. For the first seven years, she worked as a field nurse. Marsha then progressed to being a Clinical Supervisor, Director of Clinical Services and Area Clinical Specialist before she arrived at her current role – Area VP of Clinical Operations.

Marsha always felt a strong pull toward nursing. Her mother was a CNA and had a strong respect for nurses, and nursing is a prestigious profession in the Caribbean, where she hails from. Growing up, her mother really encouraged her to pursue nursing but initially Marsha wasn’t sure it suited her. Instead, she entered the business and finance fields after graduating high school. Marsha quickly found that this career path didn’t fulfill her, and she decided to go to nursing school at age 27, first enrolling in an LPN program.

“I needed something that I could finish quickly, because by that point in my life I had a family, and the program was short enough for me to be sure that nursing was truly the path for me. If I didn’t like it, a year was not very long sacrifice. It really only took a couple months of being in the program for me to know that I had made the right decision.”

A month before graduating from her LPN program, Marsha was offered a job as a floor nurse at a nearby hospital. After a year in the hospital, a friend recommended home care to supplement her income. She applied to several agencies before settling on Maxim and settled into homecare.

“After another year, I left the facility altogether and worked strictly in homecare. I really loved the patients that we cared for and being a part of their progression to an improved level of function. It also worked out better for my home life – providing so much more flexibility with having young children.”

Shifting to clinical leadership

Moving from working at the bedside into a leadership position was a difficult decision for Marsha, as it can be for many nurses. Although she enjoyed working at the bedside and sharing her knowledge with peers, she had just completed her Associate’s degree in Nursing and felt she could give more to the profession.

“This decision also coincided with when the Maxim office in Greensboro, NC was in need of a Clinical Supervisor. I was a field nurse for the office, so they invited me to apply for the position and at the time I felt that it was the right fit for the next phase of my nursing career.”

After getting the Clinical Supervisor position, Marsha was inspired to move up due to Maxim’s strong focus on professional development and mentorship. Over the last 12 years, she has had many clinical mentors that have encouraged her professional and educational growth.

“In addition, Maxim provides a generous tuition reimbursement program that has allowed me to obtain my Master’s degree in Nursing Education, as well as my Doctorate in Nursing Practice. Tuition reimbursement is just one of the resources and opportunities available for the growth of nurses within the company. I would encourage all employees, both clinical and non-clinical to explore all opportunities that are available.”

Her time as a clinical leader has taught Marsha one very valuable lesson – to be proactive in her professional growth. Opportunities are rarely handed to you; it’s up to you to actively pursue them.

“I once had a conversation with a young lady within Maxim that inquired about a leadership position… The position had just been filled and it came to light that she really wanted to apply for the position but had talked herself out of it. She felt she was not qualified. I told her that a person will never get a position that they do not apply for. Even if they apply and don’t get the job, it is always a learning opportunity that puts them closer to the next job offer.”

Clinical leadership opportunities at Maxim

At Maxim, we offer many clinical leadership opportunities, including Clinical Manager, Director of Clinical Operations, Area VP of Clinical Operations, Regional VP of Clinical Operations and Chief Nursing Officer. For those interested in taking a different direction but still applying your healthcare industry knowledge, we have career paths in our compliance department. In fact, our current Chief Compliance Officer is a registered nurse.

Success in the clinical leadership space requires several skills. Marsha highlights building strong working relationships with peers and direct reports as the most important, as it helps build respect and encourage those who work with you to give their best. “Being adaptable is also key in being successful as a leader, especially within the home care industry. Due to our business environment, we have to be able to adapt quickly to internal and external changes.”

She advises nurses considering moving to clinical leadership to take ownership and responsibility for their decisions, whether good or bad.

“Support those that you lead the best way you can while ensuring that you are holding them accountable to their actions and decisions. Also, there’s nothing wrong with asking questions or asking for help because no one expects you to know everything on day one. One thing to make sure of before asking for help is that you have exhausted all of your informational resources.”

Are you interested in working with experienced nurses like Marsha? We are always hiring skilled and dedicated nursing staff. Check out our careers site to learn more about Clinical Leadership at Maxim and view open job opportunities. If you’re not ready to apply but want to stay up to date with new opportunities at Maxim, join our Talent Community. You’ll receive company updates, job alerts and notifications about upcoming hiring events.