Dr. Salma Kazmi, Facility Medical Director, Hospital Medicine, shares more about her development as a healthcare leader and what forging a strong partnership with her hospital means to her.
Dr. Kazmi’s Career and Joining TeamHealth
Dr. Salma Kazmi once had dreams of being a NASA engineer. “Crazy, right?” she says of her childhood dream with a laugh. Instead, she followed her mother’s footsteps into medicine.
Dr. Kazmi attended medical school in Pakistan before moving to the United States and starting a family. With three children, she took some time to prioritize her family before completing her medical training and residency in Missouri, where she would go on to practice as a hospitalist. Two years ago, looking to grow in her career, she joined TeamHealth’s hospitalist group at the hospital.
Developing as a Leader
In 2022, regional and national leadership selected Dr. Kazmi as the facility medical director of the inpatient services. “Salma asked great questions about her incoming role, our team and TeamHealth’s relationship with the hospital,” says Beau Richmond, Vice President of Operations, Anesthesia, Emergency and Hospital Medicine, West Group. “She had served as a leader before but never assumed she knew everything about any of those things. She was thoughtful and humble with all of her inquiries.”
Leadership is certainly more responsibility, Dr. Kazmi says. “I was always class representative or monitor in school, so it just fits.”
As a leader, she’s learned several things. First, listening is underrated and invaluable. Leaders should listen, with a high tolerance for criticism, which they should welcome. Kindness cannot be understated, and a leader can’t simply impose decisions. “You have to have a passion for leadership,” she says. “You have to be loyal to the commitment to lead.”
Of course, leadership hasn’t been without its challenges, but Dr. Kazmi says her managers help navigate tough situations and generally provide a high level of support whenever needed. She also speaks highly of her hospitalist colleagues – at her facility and at other hospitals. “There is support at every level of the company,” she says.
Successes and Advice for Leaders
The inpatient department has seen several successes since Dr. Kazmi became the facility medical director. As the hospital’s census increased, the team had to grow recruiting, which they did successfully under Dr. Kazmi’s leadership. They’ve also enhanced collaboration among the nursing staff and physicians in the department. Dr. Kazmi is particularly proud of the work she and her team have done to strengthen the patient and family experience.
“Since joining our team, Salma has continued to grow in her role,” says Richmond. “She still asks great questions whether she’s seeking our counsel or that of other key stakeholders. She invests in her team and does all she can to support them. Her reputation as an engaged and thoughtful leader continues to grow locally and is evident with how she handles interactions with others.”
Dr. Kazmi has some advice stemming from her successes as a leader so far. “Start participating at a small level. At TeamHealth or the hospital, make yourself available,” she says. Leaders should participate, hone their time management skills and carry a passion for the work.
Looking to the Future
In the future, Dr. Kazmi hopes to grow personally and professionally. Her immediate goals include increasing her involvement in the hospital. She’s already part of several committees and integrated with the facility and its leadership, but she wants to do more. Continual advancement is imperative in healthcare, and Dr. Kazmi knows her department always has room to develop. But she says, “We won’t know what to improve unless we’re part of it.”
Joining hospital committees means improving communication between the hospital and her team, which Dr. Kazmi knows is key to success.
“Overall, I would say Salma is maturing nicely in her role and is doing everything she can to set herself up for success,” says Richmond. “All we’re trying to do is support those efforts and let her fly.”
Developing as a Leader and Forging Strong Partnerships
At TeamHealth, we know a team is only as strong as its leader, and we’re proud to have leaders across the full continuum of care driving exceptional care delivery nationwide. Our leaders become integral at our partner facilities, leading to better collaboration, improved performance and enhanced care. Learn more about our hospitalist services and connect with us to learn how our leaders and teams can help your hospital transform care.