Surgical Services OR Wish List for 2022
We’ve just concluded the Whitman Partners’ interview series featuring the 40 Fast and Future Leaders of Surgical Services 2021. One of the questions we asked: did they have an “OR Wish List“ for the New Year? What goals did they want to attend to, and what accomplishments did they want to make in 2022?
Their answers ranged from the operational to the inspirational. Much like a holiday wish list, an OR wish list makes you think about the things you want and the things you need. End-of-the-year timing is also perfect for capital budget planning—all with the same objectives: staff well-being and quality patient care.
Dillon Hofeling, VP of Surgical Services, St. Mark’s Hospital, Utah
I have multiple wish lists, but this is for the capital wish list. Currently, in the state of Utah, we are experiencing record volumes. It’s not just unique to HCA or St. Mark’s Hospital. I would say even our competitors are experiencing that as well. Our volume growth is between 7 -12% depending on the month. When you have a typical growth volume of anywhere between 1% and 3%, it gets hard to handle both equipment-wise and staff and capacity—physical capacity—wise.
So, we’re putting together a business pro forma for expansion for another operating room, more staff, and more equipment, specifically surrounding orthopedic and neuro volume. I’ve sat down with my CFO and my CEO and am working towards getting that approved.
Christina Holloway, Corporate Clinical Compliance Specialist, ASC Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
If I were going to come up with a wish list, the biggest item would be to regulate staffing. It’s our biggest challenge right now. It’s hard for ASCs right now to compete with larger entities that can provide larger sign-on bonuses. The benefits that ASCs offer for quality of life are great. We have no-calls on the weekends and holidays are typically off. But for right now, when there’s so much opportunity for financial gain for nurses, the challenge of bringing in the number and quality of nurses to replace the ones that are retiring or just deciding to get out of health care, it’s tough for the smaller ones to keep up.
So, my hope for 2022 is that there is a way for all healthcare organizations to figure out options to maintain and support staff so that are comfortable and happy where they are.
Chris Hunt, Interim Director of Perioperative Services, Children’s Hospital of Colorado
The biggest message I’ve heard everywhere is that everyone wishes for more staff. I’m fairly blessed here in that we’re 100% fully staffed right now—no vacancies, which is unheard of. An absolute dream would be for most of us to be fully staffed, so I’m kind of getting that wish.
For our wish list, it would be to build more hours. I think this would be on everybody else’s wish list. They either don’t have enough staff, or they don’t have enough ORs to take care of their patients. So, hopefully, pretty soon, we’re going to look at expanding.
Keeli Stith, Assistant Director of Perioperative Services, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
My 2022 goal is for our OR is to be the best place to work in Ohio. Where we don’t have any problem recruiting people but have people knocking on our door. Where we have people that want to stay because this is the greatest place to work in Ohio.
How are we going to get there? I think we’re on our way. This is a very tough department, for many reasons. We are The Ohio State. We get a lot of all the sickest, sickest patients. We’re open 24/7, so when all the other pavilions are closed, or all the other hospitals are on divert, we’re the ones that take everybody. It is daunting for the staff.
We’re taking care of the staff that we do have here. I just talked to my director today, and I said I’m no longer going to be like, “Oh, we’ll do the best we can.” No, I want to make my staff happy. Employers are now the candidates. When I’m interviewing you, you’re interviewing me as well because you have four other hospitals on the table.
So, we’re doing all that we can. We’re thinking of different on-call approaches. We’re coming up with a hybrid model where our call teams can be on-call for several different services and not just one service. We’ve got some input from staff through surveys on what’s important to them. Culture is another one. This is a high-stress job. People aren’t always kind to each other. But I have zero tolerance for bullying. The managers know this as well. If we hear about it, you’re brought in office and talked to. So again, it’s really just taking care of the people.
Jennifer Kuhar, Interim OR Manager, St. Barnabas Medical Center, New Jersey
Overall, investment in staff. Communication to the team. One of the biggest things is making sure that we stay current with their scheduling abilities. Some of our staffing and call schedules are antiquated. We need to update those with current tech standards, bring the IT department in to determine the needs and the hours. Make it easy for staff to access via their phone or email.
Courtney Kleeb, Director of Surgical Services, Louisiana
I would love to have a full upgrade on the scope system. But even more so, I would like a total OR refresh. From top to bottom, I would love to come in and get new walls, new floors, new lights, everything just to spruce it up a little bit. Make it a little bit brighter—a little bit newer looking. I used to have a CEO at an organization I worked for years ago who would say, “If it looks tired, we need to make it look fresh. We need to make it look like it’s just had a full 8 hours of sleep.” I’ve always taken that mindset with me wherever I’ve been because I do feel that.
If it looks nice, it makes you feel nice. Patients, surgeons, and employees. I think everybody works better in that type of environment.