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OR Pros Share New Year’s Resolutions

By Carisa D. Brewster

Making New Year’s resolutions is a long-lived tradition. It is a time of inspiration, resetting, and establishment of personal and professional goals. As directors and managers of surgical services across the country enter a new year, they should be thinking about their New Year’s resolutions for their ORs.

Almost a year into a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, surgical service departments across the country have had to be innovative, flexible and courageous in their approaches to patient care and staff safety.

We asked nine perioperative leaders what their New Year’s resolutions were for their ORs in 2021. Answers include reducing staff turnover, improved communication among staff and department redesigns.

1. Trudy Grieff, MHA, BSN, BSHM, RN
Title: Consultant
Facility: Z-Medica, Wallingford, CT
Overall, I want to improve communication between administration, staff and providers.
One way to do that is to implement monthly administration rounds within surgical services. This will allow administration to be visible to staff and providers, which will help them become more comfortable bringing questions to administration.

2. Sharon Udy-Janczuk, EdD, MSN, RN, CNOR, NE-BC
Title: Director of Nursing, Perioperative Services
Facility: Nemours Alfred I. Dupont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE
My New Year’s resolution is to elevate the exemplary and extraordinary care provided by our perioperative team through awards and recognition that are individually and collectively meaningful, recognized locally and nationally, and honor the expertise of those that support safe, quality surgical interventions for our pediatric patients.

3. Nicole Ahlgrim, MSN, RN, HNB-BC
Title: Nursing Director of Surgical Services/Family Birth Care
Facility: Beaumont Health, Gross Pointe, MI
I want to decrease turnover times. To accomplish this goal, I plan to hold more Kaizen [CB1] events (Kaizen is a Japanese management philosophy) and empower the OR manager to make change. I feel it’s possible to move the needle by even a few minutes by increasing oversight and improving communication within the team to get the room ready and the next patient into the OR.

4. Bevan Burnell, BSN, RN
Title: Assistant Director of Nursing, Ambulatory and Perioperative Services
Facility: Sawgrass and Strong West Surgery Centers, University of Rochester Medical Center
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on both my staff and the organization that I work for. Here and around the country, surgical services have had unique challenges where people are being asked to put aside their primary skill set and function as extenders in the role of critical or inpatient care. This can be extremely hard on staff. Setting business goals in this tumultuous time can be transient as local and federal governments define what surgery can and cannot be performed.

However, I have a goal and it is lofty: we don’t want to have any staff turnover for anything other than natural attrition, such as retirement, or because they are achieving professional goals that they have been working towards.

This is going to require leadership to communicate and care like we have never communicated and cared before. This will include frequent one-on-one’s, town halls with speakers from the provider and administrative realm, frequent rounding and Q&A opportunities, and vision. The vision will need to be referred to often, and individual process improvements or changes will need to be evaluated for support of the vision, and then communicated. I believe that people will be able to endure the hardship that the pandemic has put on us if they believe that there is an end in sight.

5. Monique Holzer, MSN BSN RN
Title: Director of Operations
Facility: Wellspan Health and Surgery Center, Hanover, PA
My New Year’s Resolution is to have everyone shadow each area so they all have a mutual respect and awareness for what everyone brings to the team, to each other, and to our community and patients. I think shadowing among the staff should be done whenever possible. I will also continue to educate, protect, and lead my team through COVID-19. I believe we all will overcome this.

6. Amy Wylder, RN, CNOR
Title: Director of Surgical Services
Facility: Jersey Community Hospital, Jerseyville, IL
My New Year’s resolution is to complete the redesign and construction of our CSPD. I have been working with the project manager to give insight on how to better utilize the space we have. I’m working on a computer OR schedule to be implemented within the EMR we currently use. I have found an individual willing to help navigate this process. We have a team ready to go so we can start the process in January.

7. Santino Estrera, MBA, MHA, BSN, RN, CNOR
Title: Director, NYEE Perioperative Services
Facility: Mount Sinai Health System, New York, NY
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, we have some room to improve the “holes and gaps” in our surgery schedule. I want to do a better job closing those gaps by working with our hospital leaders and block committee in right-sizing surgeons’ blocks based on the new demand or need post-COVID.

8. Janelle Skjervem, MSN, RN, CNOR, RNFA
Title: Director Perioperative Services
Facility: University Health System, San Antonio, TX
My resolution is to become highly reliable. I’d like to improve our resilience when an unexpected event occurs and disseminate changes or education to the team based upon what we learn. I’d like to alter the idea that reporting is punitive and instead change it to being informative.

9. Heather Denison, RN, BSN, MBA, CNOR, NE-BC
Title: Clinical Manager, Operating Room
Facility: El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA
My new Year’s resolution for my OR is to figure out how to have a potluck or happy hour utilizing Zoom – and have it be fun. We are working on a plan!


– Carisa D. Brewster is a staff writer for Whitman Partners.

Source: https://www.kaizen.com/about-us.html [CB1]

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