Networking is one way ASC nurses and other staff can grow as professionals in the ever-changing field.

Ambulatory surgery is expanding rapidly within the current overall trend of the healthcare industry, which is increasingly moving toward outpatient services, says Kim Van De Ven, RN, BSN, MBA, chief nursing officer at Banner Surgery Centers, Banner Health System, in Phoenix and the president-elect and conference chair of the Arizona Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (AASCA).

“Every year after [the AASCA] conference, people have asked for networking opportunities to go deep, diving into the day-to-day life of a center,” she says. “Now, we have a committee that came up with questions and topics for discussions with surgery center professionals.” During the group’s latest conference in June, AASCA’s board members facilitated discussions with surgery center professionals. Each group of professionals were grouped according to a color code by their facility’s specialty area. These areas included eye, multispecialty, pain, plastics, and gastrointestinal. Groups were formed to put people with similar challenges and interests together.

The goal was for administrators, clinical managers, chief nursing officers, and others to learn, network, and get to know each other. Organizers hope participants can use these sessions to create strategies they could use in their own facilities.

After the small group networking sessions, there was an open forum for questions, most of which were general. The session included time for asking attendees what type of quality studies they’ve conducted and how the results of those studies affected their quality metrics. Additionally, attendees shared best practices.

“What is your staffing, and how do you maintain appropriate staffing levels when the ebb and flow of a center is on some days zero cases and others there could be 30 cases?” Van De Ven says. “What have people found that works to maintain staffing and decrease turnovers during the ebb and flow of surgery center census?”

The prospect of a focus on networking excited AASCA’s board members, Van De Ven notes. “They [were] excited to have the opportunity to learn and help facilitate networking. They always want to be involved.”