New Year’s Resolutions for the OR

Some of our 40 Fast and Future honorees gave us incredible insights into the variety of ways they approach perioperative leadership at their facilities. In the spirit of a new year and new beginnings, one of the questions we asked them was, “What are your New Year’s resolutions for your OR?” Considering the challenges of managing surgical services during a pandemic, it’s imperative to not only be flexible enough to pivot but to have solid goals for day-to-day operations. 

Here are the inspiring 2021 ambitions they shared with us: 


My New Year’s Resolution is… 

“To decrease turnover times. To accomplish this goal, I plan to hold more Kaizen events (Kaizen is a Japanese management philosophy) and empower the OR manager to make any necessary changes. I feel it’s possible to move the needle by even a few minutes by increasing oversight and improving communication within the team to get the room ready and the next patient into the OR.” 

Nicole Ahlgrim, MSN, RN, HNB-BCNursing Director of Surgical Services/Family Birth Care, Beaumont Health, Gross Pointe, MI


My New Year’s Resolution is…

“Is lofty: that we don’t want to have any staff turnover for anything other than natural attrition, such as retirement, or because they are achieving professional goals that they have been working towards.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on both my staff and the organization that I work for. Here and around the country, surgical services have had unique challenges where people are being asked to put aside their primary skillset and function as extenders in the role of critical or inpatient care. This can be extremely hard on staff. Setting business goals in this tumultuous time can be transient as local and federal governments define what surgery can and cannot be performed.  
This is going to require leadership to communicate and care as we have never communicated and cared before. This will include frequent one-on-one’s, town halls with speakers from the provider and administrative realm, frequent rounding with Q&A opportunities, and vision. The vision will need to be referred to often, and individual process improvements or changes will need to be evaluated for support of the vision, and then communicated. I believe that people will be able to endure the hardship that the pandemic has put on us if they believe that there is an end in sight.” 

Bevan Burnell, BSN, RNAssistant Director of Nursing, Ambulatory and Perioperative Services, Sawgrass and Strong West Surgery Centers, University of Rochester Medical Center 


My New Year’s Resolution is… 

“To have staff shadow each other whenever possible. This will encourage mutual respect and awareness for what everyone brings to the team, to each other, and our community and patients. I will also continue to educate, protect, and lead my team through COVID-19. I believe we all will overcome this.” 

Monique Holzer, MSN BSN RNDirector of Operations, Wellspan Health and Surgery Center, Hanover, PA


My New Year’s Resolution is… 

“To complete the redesign and construction of our CSPD. I have been working with the project manager to give insight on how to better utilize the space we have. I’m working on a computer OR schedule to be implemented within the EMR we currently use. I have found an individual willing to help navigate this process. We have a team ready to go so we can start the process in January.”

Amy Wylder, RN, CNORDirector of Surgical Services, Jersey Community Hospital, Jerseyville, IL


My New Year’s Resolution is…

“To figure out how to have a potluck or happy hour utilizing Zoom – and have it be fun. We are working on a plan!” 

Heather Denison, RN, BSN, MBA, CNOR, NE-BCClinical Manager, Operating Room, El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA


My New Year’s Resolution is…

“To enhance team dynamics and improve nursing retention. We have a pod structure where I work. I am planning team building activities in every pod to include nurses, surgical technologists, leaders, and physicians. I also want to practice more gratitude with the teams and provide meaningful recognition to them.”

Katherine Tarkulich, RN, BSN, MHA, CNORPerioperative Clinical Director, University of Rochester Medical Center


My New Year’s Resolution is… 

“To retain and engage staff. I realize this is a big goal, but I believe that it can be accomplished. I am working with our LEAN team on some simple initiatives to engage staff. We are also reworking our staffing matrix to make sure we have the staff we need at the right times and right places, in addition to revamping our orientation. It will be challenging and hard, but in the end, very much worth it! I want staff to love what they do and where they work. I want them to think that our hospital is the best place in the world to work in.”

Lynda Cramer, RN, BSN, MA, CNORSurgical Services Manager, Hennepin County Medical Center


My New Year’s Resolution is… 

“To improve communication between administration, staff, and providers. One way to do that is to implement monthly administration rounds within surgical services. This will allow the administration to be visible to staff and providers, which will help them become more comfortable bringing questions to the administration.

–Trudy Grieff, MHA, BSN, BSHM, RN, Interim Perioperative Consultant, Z-Medica, Wallingford, CT


My New Year’s Resolution is… 

“To become highly reliable. I’d like to improve our resilience when an unexpected event occurs and disseminate changes or education to the team based upon what we learn. I’d like to alter the idea that reporting is punitive and instead change it to being informative.” 

Janelle Skjervem, MSN, RN, CNOR, RNFADirector Perioperative Services, University Health System, San Antonio, TX 


My New Year’s Resolution is… 

“To elevate the exemplary and extraordinary care provided by our perioperative team through awards and recognition that are individually and collectively meaningful, recognized locally and nationally, and honor the expertise of those that support safe, quality surgical interventions for our pediatric patients.” 

Sharon Udy-Janczuk, EdD, MSN, RN, CNOR, NE-BCDirector of Nursing, Perioperative Services, Nemours Alfred I. Dupont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE  


My New Year’s Resolution is… 

“To improve the gaps in our surgery schedule by working with our hospital leaders and block committee in right-sizing surgeons’ blocks based on the new demand or need post-COVID. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, I see that we have some room for refinement.” 

Santino Estrera, MBA, MHA, BSN, RN, CNORDirector, NYEE Perioperative Services, Mount Sinai Health System, New York, NY