Johns Hopkins ASC nurse manager says to 'take the leap' when adding service lines

Lutherville, Md.-based Green Spring Station of Johns Hopkins Health Care & Surgery Center recently launched a total joint and electrophysiology program.

Samantha Bell, the center's post-anesthesia care unit nurse manager, spoke with Becker's ASC Review on the biggest challenges she faced and gave advice for ASCs thinking about adding service lines.

Editor's note: This interview has been edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

Question: What has been the biggest challenge with adding service lines?

Samantha Bell: Each service has its own challenge. There were definitely some reservations from staff to bring procedures, especially EP procedures, to an outpatient setting. That was definitely like a challenge to get a buy-in from the staff. 

For the total joint addition, the challenge as the PACU nurse manager was helping surgeons and staff customize the program to be more fit for the outpatient setting. It's much more efficient that patients don't stay in the PACU for six to eight hours — they're usually out of the hospital within two to two-and-a-half hours. It was just a challenge getting people accustomed to the workflow of a true outpatient setting. 

Q: What is your advice for bringing a new service line to an ASC?

SB: Make sure that you have all the equipment that you need and everything you need to take care of the patient. Make sure your staff is well educated and they have all the tools they need to be successful for taking care of a patient. 

And especially, instead of just talking about it for six months or a year and trying to put all these plans into place, sometimes it's best to just put a case on the schedule. As long as you have everything you need and all the tools to take care of the patient, just do one case. 

Everyone has so much reservation about total joints — are we going to be able to get these patients home, etc. But we had all the surgical equipment there. We had a surgeon. We had the proper patient selection. We had educated all of our staff. We had all the tools. Sometimes you just have to take the leap rather than keep putting more and more plans into place. You don't know how it's gonna work until you do it.

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