Same-Day Surgery Manager

Surgeons, staff share what they like about surgery

By Stephen W. Earnhart, MS
Earnhart & Associates
Austin, TX

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 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: Web: