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Finding the right people to work in your operating rooms is a challenge, but how do those challenges differ between separate same-day surgery units and units combined with inpatient surgery?
"I have to find staff members who are able to interact with many people in a short period of time and present a caring attitude," says Peter Mollenholt, MD, administrative director of DayStay at Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital in Portland, OR, where the same-day surgery services are separate.
"My staff also have to recognize that our patients have choices as to where they go, so we have to give good service." It is easy to recruit for a unit that only handles same-day surgery because the hours are more predictable, there is no call, and the patients are not ill, he adds.
While the manager of a combined surgical unit doesn’t have to worry about hiring different OR staffs for inpatient and outpatient, it is difficult to find nurses who can handle inpatient and outpatient surgery, says Susan Bales, RN, MBA, director of surgical and obstetrical services at Promina DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur, GA.
"A nurse who wants to handle inpatient and trauma cases likes the extra money for taking call and likes the slower pace of longer cases," she explains. "A same-day surgery nurse is a high-energy person who likes quick cases, fast turnovers, and no call on weekends."
Because Bales’ staff work all types of cases, she says it is difficult to find a "hybrid" nurse who likes both types of surgeries. "I also find that the more experienced operating room nurses are less likely to stay in a combined unit as they burn out," Bales points out. "They are more attracted to same-day surgery centers because of the predictable hours and lack of call."