SpecialtyCare Highlight with Ovie Smith

This week, we’re highlighting one of our Intraoperative Neuromonitoring (IONM) clinical managers, Ovie Smith. She discusses what led her to a career in IONM, what a typical day looks like, and how she builds relationships. She also provides valuable career advice and details her admiration for her team, her position, and her city.

What is your role with SpecialtyCare and how long have you been with us?

I am presently the San Antonio Clinical Manager.  I have been with SpecialtyCare since 2015.

Why did you choose this role specifically?

I’ve had awesome and not so awesome managers throughout my career.  Great leadership makes a big difference.  I want to be a part of that difference.

Can you describe the path you took to get to where you are today?

I took a year off after Undergrad to decide if I wanted to go to Medical School or join the Peace Corp.  It was during that time I discovered IONM and never turned back.  That was 22 years ago.  I lived in Chicago, IL as an SNP/EEG tech for 10 years, Richland, WA as an SNP for 9 years and CM for 2 years, and now in Texas as the CM for the past year.

What does your day-to-day look like?

Every day is a little different.  Each day starts off with my Labradoodle Alarm Dog and a cup of coffee.  If I am in the o.r., I drive about 1.5 hours from Austin to San Antonio for case coverage.   Throughout the day, I manage schedules, provide assistance to my clinicians, look for opportunities to grow our market, and be the best SNP I can be.  After work (whenever that may be), I spend time with the fur babies, Facetime my college kid, and relax on the patio with a good book and some hot tea.

What is something you love about your team?

As much as I appreciate their willingness and desire to grow and learn and serve, I mostly love how much they support one another.  During a team lunch, we looked up our “love language” for fun.  I’ve noticed, since then, how each of them makes a deliberate effort to express their appreciation for one another through their designated language.  It shows that they listened and they care.  When you feel appreciated and cared about, everyone (patients, surgeons, etc.) benefits.

What is something you love about your city?

I reside and work in two very different cities.  With so many people moving here from other states, I love the diversity that Austin has to offer.  There’s also never a boring weekend here; festivals galore.  In San Antonio, I love the history and landmarks that it holds: the Alamo, the Riverwalk, the Cathedral and many more.

What is one of the most rewarding parts of your job?

Knowing that I’ve made a positive difference is the most rewarding part of my job:  when the surgeon says ‘thank you’ for helping them make a critical decision on how to proceed without injuring the patient, when a patient recognizes me out in public and shares how much better they feel, when my clinicians are able to achieve their work and personal goals because we’ve worked together to make it happen.

What is one thing that surprised you about your job?

It’s not as isolating as it seems.  Yes, I sit in a corner behind the anesthesia cart or in my home office auditing cases alone.  But I’ve also made some of the best friends in my adult life within the o.r. and SpecialtyCare.  We attend each other’s kid’s events.  We geek out about the same podcasts and Netflix shows.  We console one another when tragedy hits work and home and community.  We celebrate one another’s accomplishments both personal and professional.

If you could encourage anyone to join your team, what would you say?

If you want to grow your skill with full support from your team, your manager, your surgeons, and your company, we are a good place to do that.  There’s no better place to learn than in a teaching hospital that is also a trauma center.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your career, what would you say to yourself?

It’s okay to weigh your options, troubleshoot, and verify.  Just don’t let hesitation hold you back from speaking up and moving on and upward.  You got this!!