ROAD WARRIOR 2021
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 those two things. One thing we’ve tried at my current facility is bringing one of our scrub techs in at 5:00 a.m. to make sure all the equipment is in the room so that when the staff comes in at 7:00 a.m., they go right to their rooms. Things are all laid out for them and all they have to do is open up. This has helped the staff not run around in the morning getting stuff together.
Any tips to prevent cancellations?
You can’t catch them all, but most of our cancellations are outpatient surgeries. A good way to have fewer cancellations is contacting patients the night before to review what they’re supposed to do. That’s when you’ll find out that they’re sick, their COVID test status, and whether they’ve eaten or not. Eating during that window that you’re not supposed to pre-surgery is a big problem with some of the places I’ve worked.
What advice would you give your successor?
Always be patient. You won’t know everything from the start. Always be willing to have an open mind about new ideas and go with the flow of your upper management. Borrow pieces of the management styles of others to create your own style that works. Getting the big picture is important, too.
What are some ways to improve volume growth?
Bring in a service that the community needs and support that with enough staff. Having a robot here has been great, too. When we do a robot case, we have two circulators in the room to help facilitate. It’s an extra cost, but our FCOTS are great with our robots.
Another thing is bringing in an extra nurse or two during the mornings to help with counting, getting medicines, that kind of thing. It helps start breaks earlier and keeps cases moving along easier and more smoothly. You need to spend a little bit more money to get that extra volume.
Where I am now, we’re just getting data on that. Today, for instance, we had an extra person and were able to get two of our bigger cases in and out very quickly because having that extra nurse enabled us to be more efficient.
We’re also going to get in some more PAs to help the surgeons. They can intubate and help with anesthesia while the nurse helps do other things, like counting. You need a cohesive team. When you get that, you can move the volume.
Where can you be found in between interim jobs?
At home with my puppy, reading, kayaking, spending time with my husband, going to coffee shops. We love those little out-of-the-way mom-and-pop shops.
Do you have anything you always bring with you when traveling?
Nowadays you can do everything on your phone, but I like having my laptop computer with me so I can do work that’s easier to do on a computer, like modules, etc.