FEATURE Canyon Surgery Center in Phoe-

nix, Arizona, also hires at 32 hours instead of 40 hours a week and offers a four-day-a-week schedule. “We rotate opening and closing, schedule a month in advance and have scheduled days off,” says Elizabeth Hakal, adminis- trator of the ASC. “My staff members might work 10 hours one day and only three hours the next day.”

Creative Staffing Strategies for Highest Efficiency

Adaptability and flexibility play key roles BY SAHELY MUKERJI


taffing optimally to achieve the greatest productivity while keep-

ing your staff happy can be challeng- ing. Administrators at three different ASCs share their secrets to success.

Adaptive staffing. “We hire full time as 36 hours per week, not 40 hours per week,” says Jennifer Butterfield, CASC, ASCA Board member and administrator of Lakes Surgery Cen- ter in West Bloomfield, Michigan. “This sets expectations for flexibility up front during the interview process. People who expect to work 40 hours but achieve less are often upset.” The hours of operation in an ASC vary widely, and in her experience, those expecting 40 hours per week end up leaving an ASC to go to a hospital to achieve the hours, she says. “It is best to let candidates know that if the cen-

sus at the center is low, they will be sent home or told not to come in that day.”

Metro Health OAM Surgery Cen- ter in Grand Rapids, Michigan, allows a combination of eight- and 10-hour shifts. “An ASC that utilizes 10-hour operating room (OR) block time scheduling, needs the flexibility of more than just eight-hour staffing,” says Tina Piotrowski, RN, CASC, executive director of the ASC. “To accomplish this, we allow the option of two eight-hour and two 10-hour days a week. The benefit is that staff can plan for days when they know they will be working later. Plus, not having to work weekends and nights, hopefully, bal- ances out the adjusting of hours and flexibility needed in an ASC.”


Flexible scheduling. “We stagger shifts,” Butterfield says. “If cases start at 6:00 am, we have staff come in at 5:00 am, but if we have cases starting at 8:00 am, staff arrives at 7:00 am. Our staff- ing module follows the surgical schedule and the number of cases we are doing on a given day.” When the cases are done for the day, the staff is sent home, she says. “We don’t let them hang around. We set a schedule for staff to cover late shifts. If your name is on the schedule to cover the late cases, you are the last person to go home. We do the same for staff covering early shifts. Regardless of your shift start time, the standing mantra is that if your cases are done for the day, you may go home.” This is where the 36-hour full- time employee staffing strategy is help- ful, she says. The ASC also is flexible with vaca- tions and time off, she says. “Even if two employees want time off at the same time, we bring in PRN staff to make that happen. If needed, I help cover for lunches or breaks. We are all flexible with each other, we pay it for- ward and it pays back.”

Metro Health encourages input from

its employees when creating the staff schedule, such as requesting in writing if they need a particular day off when they work four or fewer days per week, Piotrowski says. “It is important to get feedback from the frontline charge nurses when managers are creating the staffing schedule,” she says. “The more you can get the staff involved, the bet- ter. It is helpful when employees under- stand the problems managers face in staffing the departments appropriately

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