(From the Winter 2013 issue of Everything Matters: In Patient Care)
Annette Svagerko, RN, CNOR, OR Nurse Manager, Surgery Centers
In April 2012, the Westerville Surgery Center (WSC) opened its doors on a suburban campus with the Close to Home/Urgent Care and the Sports Medicine buildings. This new facility required years of planning and interdisciplinary coordination by the Nationwide Children’s management team. Once the commitment was made to construct a surgery center, the design was expanded to include multidisciplinary clinic space on the second floor. Representatives from every department of the hospital participated throughout the design phase. Supported by project managers, facility managers, building managers, engineering, biomedical engineers and a parade of other personnel, this state-of-the-art facility provides expert pediatric surgical care in a free-standing ambulatory setting.
The WSC is designed to address the needs of a wide variety of surgical problems in children who are otherwise healthy. These patients are screened carefully, following guidelines established to ensure that the patient will be stable enough to go home the same day as the surgery. There are no accommodations for extended or overnight stays. The only time an otherwise healthy patient may not have surgery at the WSC is when postoperative pain control is an issue. These patients would receive treatment on the hospital’s main campus where they can be admitted for observation if needed. A wide variety of specialty surgical services are available including, but not limited to, Pediatric Surgery, ENT, Ophthalmology, Orthopedics, Plastic Surgery, Urology, Dentistry and Dermatology.
Preparations for opening the facility were like moving into a new house with much bustling and scurrying and many construction people still on site. The décor and on-stage areas were developed according to the hospital’s design standards. But, the staff lounge—we could have fun with that! Staff members brought in accoutrements to make this window-walled area a welcoming and comfortable space for all staff. The business staff brought in their paperwork, adjusted their chairs, logged on to their computers, and began the complex process of getting patients registered and processed through the Surgery Center. HIPAA guidelines dictated much of their practice, but excellent customer service remained foremost on their agenda.
The perianesthesia staff spent hours organizing their supplies and giving a critical eye to ensuring that safety was the primary goal in everything they did. Corners were rounded on shelving, computer stands were adjusted, and vendors came in to train the staff on the new equipment. The nurses and pharmacy liaisons assumed the primary responsibility for setting up the on-site pharmacy. Once the pharmacy and perianesthesia areas were settled, the staff focused on lending a helping hand to the operating room (OR) staff.
The perioperative staff had their work cut out for them from day one. Equipping an OR suite is an undertaking that depends on the expertise of operating room staff. Materials Management is crucial in the planning and opening of any facility but their expertise in equipping and maintaining an OR is essential. They spent the previous six months working with vendors to ensure that all items were ordered, received and cataloged. Materials Management, Sterile Processing and the nursing staff then began the task of making sure all of the instruments were properly assembled, sterilized and stored. Keeping sterile equipment and supplies stored and separated from non-sterile items, determining patient flow and orienting staff and doctors were challenges but very rewarding when it all came together. The nursing staff needed to be in-serviced on the new equipment that would play a part in the everyday care of their patients. Challenges were encountered in several areas and the staff of the Main Campus Surgery Center and the Central Processing Departments jumped right in devoting countless hours of their time to providing support for the Westerville endeavor.
A critical part of operating a safe and successful surgery center is having certified pediatric anesthesia care providers. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists and anesthesia technicians whose focus and strength are caring for our most precious commodity—our children.
What really defines this as an outstanding facility is the Nationwide Children’s team—every person who works or volunteers here understands that he or she makes a difference. In a small but complex facility, it is imperative that everyone knows that they are essential, valued and appreciated. As such, the staff takes ownership as if this facility were their home and staff treats each other as a valuable member of their work “family”. Proper communication is the key to ensuring safe outcomes, and the WSC staff strives to see this goal fulfilled each day. We are all truly “One Team” and “Everything Matters”—including making sure that the newspaper is delivered and the coffee is made each morning.