Four ASC leaders joined Becker's to discuss what they want their coworkers to know about their job.
Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for clarity and brevity.
Craig Sarine. CEO of University Surgical Associates (Chattanooga, Tenn.): I guess it is a "wish they knew, but they are probably glad they don't know" thing. This has been a challenging time in healthcare. Navigating regulations, insurance company gauntlets and maintaining competitive pay scales in an environment of continually shrinking payment rates make continued participation in our industry tenuous at present. It would be nice if the staff knew what it took to keep the ship sailing, but part of our job is to take care of all that so they can continue to focus on providing the best care possible.
Philip Louie, MD. Medical Director of Research and Academics at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (Seattle): We are living through some unprecedented times. I'm not sure if the healthcare landscape has ever seen a storm like this one that includes: a pandemic, enormous financial losses, constrained environments due to short staffing and many other factors that are seemingly out of our control. And yet, we have more and more patients than ever to take care of, with fewer resources (and staff).
I don't think there is much I wish my coworkers knew about my job — but, rather I wish my coworkers understood how critical they each are for me to carry out the duties of my job. And perhaps I (and maybe WE) are not the best at letting our coworkers know this.
Our front-line office staff are dealing with more patient encounters than ever — and are incredible at being the initial touch point for patients. Our inpatient nursing staff has been incredibly adaptive to care for all of our patients (who are now more nervous than just surgery recovery) despite the stressful changes of a dynamic pandemic. Our schedulers are incredibly creative in ensuring that we are caring for our patients in as timely of a manner as we can squeeze into the system. Our physician assistants and nurse practitioners carry the weight of the spine service on their shoulders. My surgical colleagues are my work family. My job isn't my job without them, and I certainly wouldn't want my job if I couldn't work with them. So that's it. I wish my coworkers knew how integral they are to our team and myself.
Jackie Monahan. Perioperative leader in Raleigh, N.C.: I wish everyone, including surgeons, understood how much work goes into a successful surgery. Nurses, along with their allied health partners in the perioperative setting, do a great deal of planning, collaborating, communicating, negotiating, preparing and educating to help patients and surgeons arrive at the operating room or procedure room and navigate safely through the entire perioperative process. Supply chain is still complicated by backorders and delays, which sometimes requires herculean effort to obtain the equipment, instrumentation and supplies needed. If we mapped out all the steps it takes to safely move patients through the perioperative space and send them home for a successful recovery, I think it might be surprising! Perioperative nurses along with their colleagues do this day in and day out and deserve respect for all their accomplishments and contributions to patient care, quality and safety.
Laren Tan, MD. Chair of Loma Linda (Calif.) University Health's Department of Medicine: I wish my coworkers knew just how proud and humbled I am to be able to serve and lead one of the most creative and innovative groups of physicians around. In my job, the famous reframed aphorism of "The right people are your greatest asset" rings true. Every day I'm able to witness firsthand the profound academic growth of learners as they progress through their training.
It is sobering to also support and serve an incredible department of medicine with over 200 physicians and 10 medicine specialties that provide health and spiritual healing for our community. Lastly, it is gratifying and life-fulfilling to see faculty not only enter to teach and heal but also stay to thrive through lifelong learning and service.