Director of Surgical Services Industry Updates

  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...

Despite the bureaucratic and cultural differences in foreign countries, the challenges of improving health outcomes in surgical services, while also reducing costs, are the same. In addition, resistance to organizational change, personality clashes, and maintaining staff morale are all universal issues.   However, the methods for successfully navigating those choppy political waters can differ between countries (just like states, here in the U.S.). Knowing in what ways to manage that is a talent in and of itself. Three perioperative leaders share their experiences managing healthcare delivery internationally.   Laurie Watts: Director of Endoscopy at a Saudi Arabia medical center  Mississippi native Laurie Watts began her career as a travel nurse in 2001. She took a 13-week assignment in California that she says “turned into 17 years” as she fell in love with the Bay Area and didn’t want to...

Volume growth in Surgical Services is particularly challenging because it must be balanced against the quality of patient care. An interim director has a small window—typically 3-6 months—to make a significant difference. They must have a few aces up their sleeve ready to go the moment they step into the OR.   Below, our Road Warriors for 2021 offer their first-line tactics to increase volume and make an impact within their brief tenures.   Karen Sulzman, BSN, MSN, RN    “The important thing with volume growth is making sure that surgeons know you’re going to get their patients in and out of the OR on time. In my current facility, we had to figure out how to move patients along the...

During the height of the pandemic last year, Amy Wylder, Director of Surgical Services at Jersey Community Hospital in Illinois, got some bad news while her staff was preparing for a case. The surgical sales representative due in the operating room to oversee the use of their medical device was running late. Soon it became clear that they would not make it on time.   “I was like, great. Normally, we would need to cancel the case. Then I thought, well, can we just FaceTime him?” said Wylder. “The only challenge we had was holding the iPhone in a way so that they could see into the wound without contaminating the sterile field. But we did it.”  And they did it again when another sales...

What does a System Director bring to the table? In a word, standardization. During our Power List series, we found out that the ability to provide high-quality care across multiple facilities is the central advantage of standardization. A byproduct of that is cost savings, which could more than pay for the investment in a System Director. Here are more highlights from our Power Listers.    Brian Dawson, System VP of Perioperative Services  System: CommonSpirit Health  Facilities: 120 hospitals across 21 states  “COVID proved one thing for sure: that when it comes to hospitals, most of our revenue comes from elective surgery and procedures. Why not invest in that area? One of the top investments you would want to make is in a position like...

In the early days of the COVID pandemic, the Directors of Surgical Services who managed both a hospital and an ASC (Ambulatory Surgical Center) were placed in a unique position. They had choices that their counterparts in charge of just one type of facility did not have. How were decisions made for “edge cases” during the peak of the pandemic, especially when it was uncertain when a vaccine would come into play? We spoke with directors that faced those very challenges and share the solutions that worked best.   A Game of Tetris  Working in one of the states with the strictest shutdowns, Mara Rosalsky, Executive Director of Perioperative Services at the University of California, Irvine, decided to move overnight and complicated outpatient...

So, your hospital accreditation site visit is coming up in a year or two. Do you feel prepared? Yes? But are you really? What if you had a simple list of items you could reference to double-check that? You’re in luck, you are holding that list in your very hand (or, on your computer).   A trio of highly experienced surveyors, Kathy Beydler, RN, MBA, CNOR, CASC; Rosie Ross, RN, BS-HCA, MBA; and Phil Meyer, RN, MHA, BSN, RNFA, highlight nine areas outlined below that may need a second look or extra attention before the day of your site visit.    1. Preparing for Survey vs. Maintaining Preparedness for Surveys  Some facilities may engage in a flurry of activity to prepare their accreditation survey. It’s best to approach survey preparedness as a process that is ongoing and continuous, not a...

Kathy W. Beydler and Whitman Partners Launch Survey Survival Guide for Perioperative Professionals Contains up-to-date information on best practices and industry expectations PORTLAND, Oregon – March 3, 2021 – Whitman Partners, a surgical services search firm, has partnered with Kathy W. Beydler, interim perioperative leader, keynote speaker, and consultant, to publish The Survey Survival Guide: Pocket Guide to Survey Success. Beydler wrote the guide to serve as a step-by-step refresher containing valuable information hospital and surgery center surveyors are looking for and a reminder to staff and leadership to highlight the good work they are already doing.  “Leadership outside the red line doesn’t always know or understand what is happening behind the redline and that can make a facility vulnerable to deficiencies. My goals are to...

An Interim Director of Surgical Services is familiar with unpredictability. In a new assignment, the needs of the OR, often disparate, compete for their attention. Prioritizing what to execute first is a delicate balancing act. Throw a pandemic into the mix and those challenges can be magnified 1000x.  How have evolving expectations during a global health crisis affected interim leadership? A handful of interims share their thoughts.  How the Specter of COVID has changed surgery  During the early stages of the pandemic, elective surgeries shut down. However, earnings from surgeries can be as high as 65% of a hospital’s revenue. Waiting for a vaccine was not financially feasible. In response, organizations had to create policies to safely handle COVID patients when they enter the OR.  “Many facilities did not, and some...

Here at Whitman Partners, we are frequently asked to include diverse candidates in our Directors of Surgical Services pool. As a result, we’ve adopted the mindset that “every search is a diversity search.” It’s a good policy, but is it enough? Unfortunately, the data tells a different story. The Institute for Diversity in Health Management (IFDHE), an affiliate of the American Hospital Association, shows that the percentage of minorities in healthcare executive positions is low: 11%. In first and mid-level management positions, the numbers aren’t much better: 19%.   So last year, prompted by the Black Lives Matter protests, we launched our...