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Keep Your Meditation Room: What Surgeons Really Want

by Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed., August 9, 2019

“Orthopedic surgeons don’t need a meditation room,” says one busy physician. “We need a hospital administration that more fully understands some of the barriers that prevent us from doing our jobs efficiently.”

“It’s all about staffing. Our hospital—and many others—are very understaffed, not only from a circulating and surgical tech standpoint but from an anesthesia standpoint. And because SPD personnel aren’t paid enough there is a lot of turnover there as well.”

“As for surgical staff, hospitals need to incentivize people to move things along in an efficient manner. This is primarily an issue with surgical techs, who are not incentivized. i.e., they are paid the same amount no matter what and do not get overtime.”

“While surgeons are incentivized to do more operations because we are paid based on volume, the anesthesia staff is salaried. Our workers are not paid for a full shift. If they are leaving at 3pm but are paid until 8pm then that incentivizes them to move things along. If, however, they are done in my OR at 3pm, our hospital moves them to a different room. So, of course they are thinking, ‘Why should I work hard for doctor X if I am here for 8 hours anyway?’”

“This is a safety issue in that things don’t run as well as they should. If something breaks and I need another set, then it is an ordeal to send the circulator out of the room to find it.”

“The bottom line is that surgeons need proper support from administration in the form of competent, reliable staff. Some hospitals, including my own, are unwilling to pay competitive rates so you get people who leave frequently. Now they are having staff from other departments work in our department, i.e, a cardiac nurse comes into my OR.”

And here is how this affects efficiency…not to mention distracting the surgeon. “My hospital’s administration says they are making our staff more flexible and that this cross training improves overall OR efficiency. Not true…what really makes for efficiency is to have the same people doing the same type of cases on a consistent basis. I don’t need someone new showing up and interrupting me, saying, ‘What kind of drape do you want?’”

So what keeps this surgeon where he is? “My partners and colleagues…I love and respect them.”

Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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