A Day in the Life of an Administrator - Nov/Dec 2023

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From Surgical Tech to Clinical Services Director

Welcome to A Day in the Life of an Administrator, our online column, where we sat down with Deidre Frizzell, BSN, RN, director of clinical services at Covenant High Plains Surgery Center in Lubbock, Texas. Outpatient Surgery Magazine is posting these profiles to give the administrators, directors and other leaders in ambulatory facilities a voice — and to share, in their own words, what it’s like to walk in their shoes. Their stories offer a glimpse into the significant role these individuals play on the OR team and the challenges they face as they work alongside their colleagues.

OSM: When people at a party ask, ‘What do you do?’ What do tell them?
Deidre Frizzell (DF): I proudly tell people I’m the director of an ambulatory surgery center, and I’ve been with this center for more than 11 years now. It’s fun to share my career journey within the center. I started here as a surgical technician, went back to nursing school, worked as a staff RN for a few years, was then promoted to clinical manager, and now I serve as the director of clinical services. I’ve found that working outpatient surgery is my passion. I truly love being here and working with my staff, physicians and patients. I especially enjoy the challenge of expanding our center with new opportunities available to ASCs.

OSM: If you had to describe the atmosphere in your surgery center in one word, what would it be? Why?
DF: Welcoming! We strive to create a welcoming environment for not only our patients, but also our staff, vendors, students and physicians. The atmosphere can speak volumes, but I think it’s also very reflective of the overall care we provide for the patients within our center. Patient satisfaction is always top priority and giving them a welcoming experience helps alleviate those “surgery day nerves.” We let them know we sincerely care about them and the care we are providing.

OSM: What do you do to unwind after a busy day?
DF: I love to spend time with my family. My two children are very active in sports, and that takes up the bulk of my non-work time. My husband and I normally spend our evenings running around to practices, games, etc. That’s not to say a glass of wine doesn’t occasionally serve as the conclusion to my extremely busy day.

OSM: What are the essential ingredients for an effective surgical team?
DF: Teamwork, communication, positivity, dedication and commitment. I believe these qualities make a significant difference in the overall atmosphere of any workplace, but working in a smaller ASC setting, these “essential ingredients” are invaluable to your success.

OSM: At 3 p.m. on a workday, I’m usually...
DF: Working through the scheduled shifts for our staff. We operate on two different floors, so it normally takes myself and my charge nurse to make rounds on all staff, ideally starting at 2:30 p.m. Our surgical techs and nurses sign up for late-stay coverage. This ensures we have appropriate staffing for any patient care and business needs after 3 p.m. I also begin to revise my to-do list for the next business day.

OSM: Thinking about your leadership journey, would you say: a. I’ve always been drawn toward leadership roles? b. I was thrown into leadership and am learning as I go?
DF: Definitely A. As long as I can remember, I’ve always thrived in a leadership role when such a role was available. I have a strong passion and take ownership of all that I do, which naturally steers me in the direction of a leadership position.

OSM: What was the most challenging experience you’ve ever encountered as a provider or a leader?
DF: I’d like to answer this question in present tense. One of the most challenging experiences I encounter is navigating the generational gaps of employees. I think it’s important to be aware and respectful of each of their respective experiences and training. The challenge as a leader is ensuring diverse individuals can work together cohesively and making sure everyone continues to learn from one another, creating a stronger team in the process.

OSM: If you were writing a book about your experiences in health care, what would you call it?
DF: This is a question I’ve never been asked! Is it appropriate to quote a famous rapper? (Editor’s Note to future A Day In Life contributors: It absolutely is appropriate to quote famous rappers, rock stars, singer-songwriters and even moderately successful polka musicians.) “Started from the bottom, now were here.” In all seriousness, if I was writing a book about my experiences the title of the book would be something reflective of my development and growth, both personally and professionally. I think a good title would be, “Remembering my roots in the world of leadership.”

Note: Outpatient Surgery Magazine would like to thank Deidre for sharing her life with us! On behalf of our team, we are sending a small token of appreciation to Deidre and her OR team. If you are an administrator and would like to share your day and special insights for this online exclusive column, please contact our Editor-in-Chief Jared Bilski at [email protected]. Have a great day! OSM

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