Surgeons, staff share what they like about surgery
By Stephen W. Earnhart, MS
Earnhart & Associates
Press Ganey's report Hospital Check-Up Report: Physician Perspectives on American Hospitals includes a discussion of what surgeons don't like. (For information on accessing the report, see the note at the end of this column.) I thought it was a good report, but it needed some balance. I thought I would do some research on what surgeons and other staff like! (The glass is always half full.)
This is not a scientific study, but it is balanced between hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). Here are their responses:
- ENT surgeon, hospital: "I like the fact that the staff are asking my opinion on issues before they just change things."
- Plastic surgeon, ASC: "I like the hospital better than this place." (I guess that is a positive.)
- General surgeon, hospital: "I like the way that most of the staff around here smile at me when I come into the lounge. It makes me feel at ease."
- GI surgeon, ASC: "I like that everyone helps each other around here. They all seem to understand each other's job and help each other out. It makes my day here so much nicer."
- Orthopedic surgeon, hospital: "I like it when the staff ask me if I want something before they pop it on the back table. I know that means they are being cost-effective."
- Orthopedic surgeon, ASC: "I like it when someone asks me questions about what I am doing. It shows they are taking an interest in what is happening on the field."
- Pain surgeon, hospital: "I like the smiles on the staff."
- GYN surgeon, ASC: "I like knowing what the expectations are of me. I like it when they push me to start on time. They care."
- Plastic surgeon, hospital: "I like it when people don't ask me stupid questions like this."
Since I am also an RN, I wanted to get their thoughts as well:
- RN, hospital: "I like the job security of working in a large hospital."
- RN, ASC: "I like the security of working in a for-profit environment."
- RN, hospital: "I work hard to make my patients feel good. I like that feeling."
- RN, ASC: "I enjoy working with professionals — my peers."
- RN, hospital: "I am making a difference in people's lives. Not many jobs offer that."
- RN, ASC: "l am proud of what I do. That makes me happy, and that is what I like best about this place."
I am also a CRNA, so I wanted to get feedback from them:
- CRNA, ASC: "This place has a different feel from the hospital. Not good or bad, just different. I like that."
- CRNA, hospital: "I like a challenging case. I like seeing what comes up from the emergency room. It tests my skills."
- CRNA, ASC: "I like the smiles."
- CRNA, hospital: "I like the diversity over here."
And, because I am also a Navy-trained surgical tech, I wanted to hear from them:
- Tech, hospital: "I like a case that goes smooth from start to finish with everyone happy."
- Tech, ASC: "I like having only one break room. We all hang out together."
- Tech, hospital: "I feel needed here. I like that."
- Tech, ASC: "I like the shorter cases."
In conclusion? The No. 1 factor that people across the board mentioned was working with happy people. Smiling people. People who enjoyed their job.
What makes me happy? A good cup of coffee, and a smile that lights up a room. Give your co-workers a little smile, and go have a great day. Make a difference.
(To access the Press Ganey report, go to www.pressganey.com and click on "news and notes" and then "news archive." Next to the date 07/24/08, click on "Hospital Check-Up Report: Physician Perspectives on American Hospitals Released." The hyperlink for the report is at the bottom of that page. Earnhart & Associates is an ambulatory surgery consulting firm specializing in all aspects of outpatient surgery development and management. Contact Earnhart at 1000 Westbank Drive, Suite 5B, Austin, TX 78746. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.earnhart.com.)