Farmington Hills, Mich., July 24, 2008 -- Botsford Hospital---a community teaching hospital in Farmington Hills---has reorganized its operating room staff into surgical specialty teams. Surgical specialty teams include ear/nose/throat, general/gynecological/urologic, orthopedics, plastic/reconstructive/podiatric, spinal, and vascular. Typically found at large university-based research hospitals, these teams don’t usually exist at community hospitals where size limits OR staff specialization. For comparison, a local university health system reported almost 65,000 surgical cases in 2007 whereas Botsford had 10,494 surgical cases.
It all started when Botsford’s manager of surgical services needed to find a way to energize and inspire her employees and to improve surgeons’ relations with the hospital. The first thing that Karen Dulka, RN, did was to share authority and decision making with her staff. Joined by a team of three surgical technicians and three RNs, this team was charged with finding a way to increase satisfaction among the hospital’s surgeons and OR staff.
Given the challenges of creating specialty teams in a six-suite OR, the team saw an opportunity for increasing surgeon and staff satisfaction since in the past individual surgeons had become comfortable working with a core group of surgical techs and RNs.
But, how to get it done? First, the planning team identified the OR staff members’ specific areas of surgical interest and surgeon preferences.
Then they engaged surgeons by letting each know which staff members had expressed a preference to work with them. Surgeons’ feedback to Dulka has been positive. Some even stopped by her office to thank her personally.
To build excitement around the move to surgical specialty teams, Dulka and her team hosted a kick-off breakfast for the entire staff, including surgeons and surgical residents. When the staffing schedules were posted, staff members---13.44 FTEs of RNs and 11.13 FTEs of surgical techs---were thrilled to learn that they had been assigned to at least one of their top-two choices. And, surgeons were pleased to know that those on their team had chosen to be there. A win-win for Botsford’s surgeons and OR staff.
“My fellow surgeons and I are gratified by the change to specialty teams in Botsford’s OR. The move focuses needed attention on our surgeons who have standing blocks of OR time. To work with a team whose members prefer to work with you, well, you just can’t put a price on that,” comments vascular surgeon Eugene Laveroni, Jr., D.O., Botsford’s perioperative medical director. “I believe this change will not only increase surgeon and employee satisfaction, but also improve the patient’s experience at Botsford. The benefits of a cohesive surgical team can lead to both safety and satisfaction improvements for patients.”
Botsford Hospital, a 330-bed community hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich., was founded in 1965. Nationally recognized for quality, safety and medical education programs, Botsford received the 2006 Governor’s Award for Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care in the Hospital Setting and, in 2007, a three-year recertification as a Chest Pain Center from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Botsford’s web address is botsford.org.
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