Pitfalls of Stretch Coverage

Editorial Staff

8 Consequences of Using Stretch Coverage for an Open Leadership Position

There is no doubt we live and work in an age of budget constraints, scrutiny and having to do more with less. When hospitals are faced with critical and unexpected leadership gaps, it is not uncommon to  ask internal employees to cover the gaps while the organization searches for new leaders. This method is known as “stretch coverage” – it is asking Manager John to continue his own work, while also taking over Director Bob’s position and responsibilities until a new director is hired.

On paper, stretch coverage may initially look like a logical and economical way to fill the gap. However, 18+ years of hospital leadership consulting and numerous studies have shown the HealthLinx team a different, and much darker part of the story. Stretch coverage may appear to be the most affordable and efficient decision when faced with an unexpected leadership gap, but it almost always comes with dangerous consequences that are far more costly and damaging in the long run.


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HealthLinx® exists to create better outcomes through high-performing leadership and culture. We are a national project management firm that guides hospitals to achieve Leadership Excellence and Nursing Excellence.

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