Author: Sarah Masters

When vaccines became available earlier this year, there was a grain of hope visible at the end of the longest, darkest tunnel that we entered in 2020.   COVID rates plummeted from late spring into early summer. Just in time to embark not only on delayed vacations and seeing loved ones face to face, but the conference circuit was ready to get back to business in person. Dates were put on the calendar and flights were booked.  Then Delta happened.  AORN’s Global Surgical Conference and Expo, at the time set to take place in Orange County, FL was canceled and turned virtual. Many other conferences followed suit, highly dependent on what was happening locally.   Thrown into a time warp back to the confusing days of early 2020, conference organizations had calls to...

Having started her career as an operating room nurse, Cammy Staker is familiar with helping patients with pain management. When she read about a drug treatment program that utilized cannabis to help wean patients off of heroin, that got her gears turning. After jumping some legal hurdles, her side hustle was born: Wasatch CBD Butter, a cannabidiol-based salve for pain relief that she formulated herself.  At the time of her light bulb moment, she lived in Utah, one of the hotspots of the opioid epidemic. She wondered how a service like that would work—and if it were even possible to create given her location at the time.  “A lot of people are looking for something that will help decrease or manage pain,” says Staker, who just moved to...

Dante Wheat’s mother did not want him to play football, so when he tried out for the team and got chosen, he kind of leaves out the reason he had to stay at school after classes were over. When he finally broke the news to her, he softened the blow with the fact that he was incredibly good at it.   Wheat was rated as one of the top football prospects coming out of high school in the 1981 issue of The Blue Chips Magazine. He played two seasons for the Red Ravens at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, KS, and the remainder of his football career at the University of Louisville for the Cardinals. He even crossed paths with the legendary football coach Howard Schnellenberger,...

As Peg Below began advancing in perioperative leadership, it dawned on her that she wasn’t taking care of herself very well. Rest, exercise, and eating right were becoming more and more elusive.   “I just wanted to learn more about how I could improve my self-care,” Below says, currently working as an interim director at a Philadelphia-area hospital. “In the past, I was seeking out holistic and wellness conferences to develop better self-care skills.”  Below began her wellness coaching practice in 2013 and completed her Ph.D. in mind-body medicine in 2017. Since then, her practice has solidified into a holistic program using mind-body techniques (hypnosis, biofeedback, guided imagery) to help people identify and understand their self-care...

Quickstart Guide to Hiring a Director of Surgical Services Hiring a Director of Surgical Services is one of the most difficult challenges a hospital's talent acquisition team faces when hiring for quality leadership. This video will provide a little bit of a head-start for launching a successful Director of Surgical Services search. https://youtu.be/_tLSXVenhI0 ...

Keeping their cool in a sea of variability is an essential skill that can give a Director of Surgical Services with a military background an edge. They also bring some of the structure and team-building expertise learned in the armed forces to help improve organizational culture and staff morale.   These changes don’t just make people feel better, they can impact volume growth, too. According to a 2019 study conducted by Grant Thorton and Oxford Economics, companies with a genuine sense of community, collaboration, and high employee engagement had a stronger financial performance.  So, the next time you are in the market for a director, and you see...

  When Hunter Counselman received a scholarship from Whitman Partners in 2016 to attend Anderson University in South Carolina, he wasn’t planning to become a nurse. But looking back, he says he had been slowly ushered towards that direction for years.  His father, Robert, is a nurse so he was familiar with the industry. He shadowed a surgeon for a day and worked the night shift in an aftercare program at his high school. He also tutored elementary kids in an afterschool program. The common thread for him was that feeling of fulfillment when caring for people in any capacity.   And even then, he thought he might consider being a nurse.   “Originally, I wanted to do engineering,” Counselman says. “I was set on that. And then I...

Perioperative Leaders share their Operating Room tips with us. If you have a Tip of the Month you would like to be featured in our Periop Cafe Newsletter, please email carisa.brewster@whitmanpartners.com   September 2021 Kyle Brown - Remember this is a people business “At the end of the day, surgery is a business that takes care of people. I think it’s regularly forgotten what the core of our work is because we get so focused on data and finances. Coming out of this pandemic, that’s something that has become important for me: this is a people business and our employees are people taking care of others. So...

For Thomas Fields, an interim director of surgical services based in Charlotte, NC, being of service to others doesn’t cease when he steps outside of the operating room.   Wanting to find a way to engage with his community as he does with his day job, he was drawn to volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, the well-known non-profit that builds affordable housing.   “What I love about this is that the work isn’t fleeting,” Fields, who has been volunteering for six years, says. “A lot of how society helps people is for the moment but doesn’t help them with the next step to a better life. That’s the goal of Habitat, to move from that single moment to something more permanent.”  When Fields is active on projects, he will devote about 25...

Elaine Botner, BSN, RN   For Elaine Botner, the process of arriving at a new facility hoping to adapt her management style, mentoring new managers, sharing ideas, and filling in the gaps for hospital administration are some of her favorite aspects of being an interim.   When you begin an assignment, what is your priority?  I want to get to know everyone in the department and who my resources are. Once I know how the hierarchy works and what other departments flow into our department, I connect with them and go from there. What metrics illustrate a well-run OR?  FCOTS and turnover are so important. After COVID, I’ve observed that facilities have gotten a little lax about...