Welcome to the new Outpatient Surgery website! Check out our login FAQs.
Ideas That Work
Diana Procuniar
Publish Date: October 10, 2007   |  Tags:   Ideas That Work

Diana Procuniar, RN, BA, CNOR A block of OR time has just opened up, and you need to get in touch with one of your utilizing physicians. If your call gets through to the schedulers in his office, you're in luck. And if not ? well, let's not think about the possibility of an OR spending four hours dark and empty.

Diana Procuniar, RN, BA, CNOR \ You know that the schedulers are the key to the physician's activity at the surgery center. And the key to getting on their good sides is building relationships. But how do you ensure a good relationship with your physicians' schedulers? We hosted a spa night at our center as a treat to them. Here's how:

  • We invited physicians' office schedulers and office managers, and our surgery center's scheduler, nurse manager, administrator and physician advocate.
  • We decorated our phase II recovery area to create a peaceful, beautiful environment. We turned each little cubicle into a private oasis, stringing tiny white lights in silk trees and placing melted scented wax pots around the areas for a sweet aroma. We turned the white sheets on bed tables into "envelopes" to hide the tables, and then added large silk hydrangea flowers in the folds of the sheets. We also subdued the lighting throughout the recovery area.
  • We held spa night on a Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to capture people on their way home. Even though we had inclement weather, 17 people from eight offices attended.
  • We hired therapists, and put them in the phase II individual areas - one for mini facials, one for hand massage and two for chair massages, where they gave neck and shoulder massages.
  • In our phase I recovery area, we set up the same trees and lights as in phase II, and added candles and set up small cocktail tables to seat four apiece, and arranged a buffet along the PACU desktop. The food, served by an upscale local caterer, included hot and cold appetizers, soda and wine. The main dishes were a variety of salads, shrimp, egg rolls, cheese and crackers, fruit salad and dessert.
  • To cap the evening, we gave everyone a body lotion/oil gift packet.

We spent $400 on the four therapists; $250 on food and beverages; $75 on wine; $25 on the decorations; and $35 on the gift packs.

While volume hasn't increased significantly from these offices, our relationships with the office managers and schedulers have greatly improved. We consider this just one event in a series we're planning to provide innovative opportunities to mingle with office schedulers.

Nancy Burden, RN, MS, CAPA
Director of Health Services
Bardmoor Outpatient Surgery Center
Largo, Fla.
writeMail("[email protected]")

Teaching your staff supply costs
I borrowed a page from The Price is Right game show to educate my staff about the cost of OR supplies. We set up a bulletin board on the back of an OR door. Each week, we display a different supply item and invite staff to guess how much it cost us. Staff write their guesses on a piece of paper and submit it in a cup attached to the board. The nurse closest to the actual retail price - it's okay to go over - wins a CD holder or an all-expenses paid trip to Old Navy (not to exceed $5). The game has given my staff a greater understanding of how much our hospital spends on surgical supplies and conditioned them to only open what's needed during a case.

Nancy Underwood, RN, CNOR
Surgical Services Manager
Richardson Regional Medical Center
Richardson, Texas
writeMail("[email protected]")

Donate your unused open surgical supplies
We all have cases during which supplies are opened and don't get used. We've found that many charities are happy to accept supplies, provided you ensure they are properly resterilized. The key is to ensure a process to achieve the sterilization efficiently and to eliminate storing the supplies in our already-maximized space.

To accommodate those goals, the collection here at St. Joseph's Wayne Hospital is a two-step process:

  • Once a procedure is finished, we collect all qualified disposable items, excluding sharps from the surgical field, that we can ensure haven't been contaminated. The scrub nurse dons clean gloves and places these products into a centralized closed bin for future processing.
  • When the bin is full, we place the products into ethylene oxide (ETO) gas sterilization bags, closed with a rubber band and delivered to the sterile processing department for ETO decontamination. After that, we alert the charity to promptly pick up the items.

After weighing our options - there are more than 3,000 local, national and international charities in the United States, the donations to most of which are tax-deductible - our hospital decided to send these unused supplies to less-developed countries with limited resources. We've been using this process for nearly six years, and in that time, nine charitable organizations have benefited from our efforts by picking up supplies at our facility. In addition, local organizations such as animal rescues and veterinarians offices are also often in need of supplies and might be a good option if you prefer to keep your charitable acts within the community. The key is to pick one you deem trustworthy and whose mission you believe in.

Debra Dunn, RN, MBA, CNOR
Perioperative Educator
St. Joseph's Wayne Hospital
Wayne, N.J.
writeMail("[email protected]")