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A Day in the Life of an Administrator - Carson McCafferty
By: Jared Bilski | Editor-in-Chief
It’s All About Your Team
Welcome to A Day in the Life of an Administrator, our new online column, where we sat down with Carson McCafferty, MSN, RN, CNOR, CNAMB, CSRN, clinical director, Eye 35 ASC in Schertz, Texas. Outpatient Surgery Magazine will be posting these columns regularly to give the administrators in ambulatory facilities a voice – and to share, in their own words, what it is like to walk in their shoes. Their stories will offer a glimpse into the significant role these individuals play and the challenges they face every day as they work alongside their OR team members.
OSM: Please take me through a typical busy day in your surgery center.
Carson McCafferty (CM): Each morning, I arrive about 45 minutes before any of the staff gets there. I’ll take that time to make sure the sterilizers, laser, blanket warmer and coffee is on. Next, I’ll print schedules for each department and go through emails. I usually help start the day by working in preop, but when staffing allows, I’ll head into my office to work on daily and never-ending to-do lists. I make it in there on the calm days. My days are either calm — days where I can work peacefully in my office — or they’re extremely busy. If it’s the latter, I spend the bulk of the day running around and handling situations that occur. I’ll check “op notes” and anesthesia records and put in the codes that get send to our billing department. We’re working with a new system right, so I haven’t felt comfortable delegating the billing items out just yet.
Every day is a completely different day in this role. I do everything my power to make sure things run as smoothly as possible, and I try to take on any immediate issues so staff can focus on their duties. Eventually, I will find a way to get to all those items on my daily to-do lists that I write myself.
OSM: When you wake up in the morning on an extra busy day, do you have any go-to rituals to help you get through the day?
Carson McCafferty (CM): I have a few, and it all starts with my commute. On the drive to work, I’ll listen to a reality show podcast and pray for a peaceful day. This helps put me in the right frame of mind before entering the center. Then, when the rest of the staff arrives, I’ll go to each department and give a briefing of the day ahead. Whenever possible, I try to have breakfast tacos brought in for the staff — and I never forget to make sure the coffee is ready before everyone arrives! OSM: What's your go-to stress-reliever after a long day for you and your staff? CM: Massages work wonders. We bring in a masseuse once a month and give everyone a 15-minute chair massage. On stressful days, we also tend to take an extended lunch and sit around laughing about the things that happened throughout the day. We’ve also been known to make a TikTok or two… Outside of the surgery center, we also try to do staff appreciation events. In the past, we’ve done everything from bowling and the rodeo to fancy dinners and a brewery trip. We did a one-night staycation at the JW Marriott in town for our entire staff.
OSM: What do you feel is the most misunderstood component of being a surgery center leader?
CM: How many of the day-to-day tasks you simply learn in nursing school. Running an ASC, I never imagined I’d become proficient in HVAC, generators, sterilizers, fire systems, yard sprinklers — the list goes on and on. When I start running a surgery center, I was Infection Control, HR, QAPI, administrator and a preop nurse. Over time, I’ve learned how to delegate some of these duties. Surgery center leaders need to remain flexible and adaptable to anything and everything when running an ASC because no two days are ever the same.
OSM: What's your favorite thing about your job? Least favorite?
CS: The team I work with is hands-down my favorite thing about this job. From the surgeons to the staff, we have an incredible team across the board. That team is directly responsible for my other favorite part of the job: The patients’ reactions. When patients come to PACU and cry because their vision is improved — especially the ones who have worn glasses their whole life — it’s both rewarding and emotional for me. My least favorite part is dealing with all the issues when we have call-ins, broken machines or any of countless random events that disrupts our daily operations. I also don’t enjoy the HR component that comes with being in charge of a small organization.
What's the most interesting surgery you've witnessed?
CM: We do corneal transplants, and it’s pretty amazing to see. But honestly, all eye surgeries are amazing because they give back the gift of sight. Depending on your definition of interesting, I do recall one patient who fell face first into a cactus after a night of fun. Cactus to the eye was definitely memorable.
OSM: If you could choose any celebrity to be a patient at your surgery center, who would it be and why?
CM: Right now, I’d pick Taylor Swift. Not only does she put on an amazing concert, but she also seems really nice. Plus, her video post-Lasix surgery is hilarious.
OSM: If you could have any superpower to help you with your job as a surgery center administrator, what would it be and why?
CM: Psychic powers. I’d love to see into the future. Who is going to call in or what is going to break? Knowing what is coming would help alleviate some stress and be prepared ahead of time when events happen. I don’t know if it's a technically a “superpower,” but I would also love to be able to turn my brain off at night so I could stop stressing and rest better.
(Note: OSM would like to thank Carson for sharing her life with us! On behalf of Outpatient Surgery Magazine, we are sending a small token of appreciation to Carson 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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