In every facility, there are issues that arise that no one knows how to handle — or the issue may be so delicate that everyone is uncomfortable to address it.

What follows are some real-world problems worth considering. How would you would handle these issues? How would you begin a conversation about these problems in a staff meeting? While some of these may seem innocuous, others may be more serious — issues that put patient safety at risk or activities that are downright illegal:

  • My surgeons refuse to change their scrubs when they go out to eat or to their office. Then, when they return, they dive right into a case in the surgery center.
  • My surgeons may have made a kickback deal with anesthesia staff.
  • I’m the administrator here, and everyone hates me.
  • I think my materials manager is selling supplies out the back door.
  • We profit-share at our surgery center. We need two more nurses, but the current staff will work longer hours with straight pay (no overtime) if we do not fill the positions and dilute our profit-sharing pool.
  • Our vendors are cutting back on bringing lunches in. I think we should cut back on what we order from them.
  • We found a camera in the women’s locker room.
  • We have one anesthesia provider using double the right fentanyl dose.
  • The owner doctors are going to start charging the staff for parking.
  • One of our new surgeons drops about 20 f-bombs per case.
  • A male scrub tech claims one of our surgeons is sexually harassing him.
  • Someone is stealing the money in our “Curse Jar.”
  • A surgeon’s wife wants to put carpet in the recovery rooms so it “Won’t look so sterile.”
  • I don’t think our COVID-19 protocols are strong enough.
  • We have mice in the storage room.
  • Someone is stealing the Lysol spray we use for COVID-19 wipe down in the waiting room.
  • Our staff is insisting on paid lunch breaks after the COVID-19 shutdown and subsequent rehire.
  • Our circulator used a foghorn to start the surgical time out. The surgeon screamed at her; the circulator quit.
  • There are not enough funds to give everyone a bonus this year.

Have you had to address one or more of these problems at your facility? If so, what steps did you and your staff take to solve these issues? Feel free to send me your comments about these issues, and I may share them in future columns (your confidentiality will be protected).

(Earnhart & Associates is a consulting firm specializing in all aspects of outpatient surgery development and management. Address: 5114 Balcones Woods Drive, Suite 307-203, Austin, TX 78759. Phone: (512) 297-7575. Fax: (512) 233-2979. Email: searnhart@earnhart.com. Web: www.earnhart.com. Instagram: Earnhart.Associates.)