Surgery centers attract experience

While hospital-based or freestanding same-day surgery centers that are part of a larger network have the resources to train nurses with no operating room experience, smaller freestanding centers have to find ways to attract experienced perioperative nurses.

"We just don’t have the time or the resources to train a new graduate to work in the operating room," says Jane Kusler-Jensen, RN, BSM, BSN, CNOR, director of surgical services for Surgicenter of Greater Milwaukee. "This means that we only hire nurses with at least three years of operating room experience."

Attracting perioperative nurses to a same-day surgery center is easy because there is no call and no weekend hours. While there may be some unexpected overtime or longer days, that is the exception rather than the rule, says Kusler-Jensen. But a pleasant work environment is not enough, she adds.

"When we first opened, we thought we could offer a lower wage than the local hospital since our work environment is more predictable and less stressful," she says. "But we quickly found out that to attract the best nurses, we have to offer the same pay offered by hospital surgery programs, and we even offer signing bonuses that are paid after the nurse has stayed six months and one year."

To attract more nurses to HealthSouth’s freestanding surgery centers in Connecticut, the surgery center network offers a chance to work at different locations based on the surgery center’s need, says Louise deChesser, RN, MHA, CNOR, MHA, director of operations at the HealthSouth Surgery Center of Hartford, CT.

"Although the nurse has a primary workplace, he or she can go to any of eight centers in our region." This is attractive to many nurses because the centers can generally guarantee a 40-hour workweek, and the nurses have a chance to visit other centers, says deChesser.

For more information about programs to increase the number of perioperative nurses, contact:

Linda Y. Kautzman, RN, MSN, CNOR, Clinical Staff Development Coordinator, South Georgia Medical Center, 1727 Pendleton Drive, Valdosta, GA 31603-1727. Telephone: (912) 259-4084. Fax: (912) 259-4076. E-mail: linda.kautzman

Jane Kusler-Jensen RN, BSM, BSN, CNOR, Director of Surgical Services, Surgicenter of Greater Milwaukee, 3223 S. 103rd St., Milwau-kee, WI 53227. Telephone: (414) 328-5800. Fax: (414) 328-5805. E-mail: ljensen@execpc. com.

Lucy H. Miller RN, PhD, Associate Professor of Nursing, College of Nursing, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA 31698. Telephone: (912) 333-7308. Fax: (912) 333-7300. E-mail:

Eileen Ullmann, RN, MHS, CNOR, Professional Education Specialist, Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, 2170 S. Parker Road, Suite 300, Denver, CO 80231-5711. Telephone: (303) 755-6304. Fax: (303) 750-3212. E-mail:

Sharon C. Wolfrom, RN, CNOR, Director of Surgical Services, Gulf Coast Medical Center, 449 W. 23rd St., Panama City, FL 32405. Telephone: (850) 470-747-7111. Fax: (850) 747-7117.