Passing the Torch: Empowering Future ASC Nurse Leaders
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 9:00 AM
As a member of the aging nursing workforce, I share an upcoming milestone with my fellow baby boomers — retirement. While this life event is celebrated by many, the nearing mass retirement of my generation has important societal implications. One industry that will be particularly affected by this generational shift is health care.
The Need for Nurses
Already, the U.S. is facing a shortage of registered nurses (RNs), fueled in part by aging baby boomers creating a greater demand for health care services. This shortage is even more pronounced in perioperative nursing. Surgery is not a focus in most nursing programs. Therefore, interest in and exposure to a career in operating room (OR) nursing is increasingly low, with staffing levels likely to get worse. According to an article titled “Shift Change: OR Staffing Shortage,” 65 percent of baby boomers OR nurses plan to retire by 2022, taking decades of experience and institutional knowledge with them.
The obvious thoughts on the minds of seasoned nurses preparing to retire are: Who will be there to grab the baton when I am ready to lay it down? Who will continue to build upon the good work we have begun? All valid and important questions that need to be addressed.
Hospitals are responding by offering better benefits, flexible scheduling, higher pay, growth opportunities, and tuition reimbursement. Most ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) cannot match the compensation and benefit package offered by the local health system to recruit and retain OR nurses, but they have a few items working in their favor.
The 2018 Medscape Nurse Career Satisfaction Report found that of the more than 10,000 nurses surveyed, only 1 percent of RNs and 2 percent of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) listed money as the most rewarding aspect of their job. Instead the chief reward among respondents was “helping people/making a difference in people’s lives.” This paired with nurses valuing work-life balance and loathing “administration/workplace politics” bodes well for ASCs.
ASC business hours are conducive to work-life balance. These organizations just need to cultivate a culture that prioritizes quality and safety without bogging nurses down with unnecessary politics and administrative distractions. In short, we need effective nurse leaders!
ASC owners would be best served by recognizing the vital role nursing leaders play in maintaining stability and sustainability in the organization. Surgery centers spearheaded by authentic leaders who serve as role models instill a positive work environment where nurses feel supported. When this type of leader retires, the workplace can be negatively impacted, leading to instability and turnover, if there is no one to fill that role.
To aid ASC nurse leaders in their development, Progressive Surgical Solutions will hold its first ASC Nurse Leadership Conference on Feb. 6-7, 2020, in Dallas. We diligently and thoughtfully prepared a program with the specific goal to arm ASC nurse leaders with the inspiration, insights, and knowledge they need to carry on the good work of their predecessors. Sessions led by distinguished faculty will focus on the areas where nurses can grow as leaders, improve their processes and efficiency, maintain compliance in an ever-changing and highly regulated environment, and better support their team.
More Than a Job
Nursing, and ambulatory surgery nursing in particular, have been good to me. I have enjoyed success and, more importantly, found value and meaning in my work. I am passionate about the industry and supporting the nurses coming behind me to lead these facilities so vital to serving our entire health care system. My hope is that this conference will help to pass on my institutional and industry knowledge to other dedicated nurse leaders to draw upon when I retire.
With that said, please join me in my efforts to assure the sustainability and success of ASCs long into the future. If you own an ASC, invest in your nurse leaders. If you are an ASC nurse leader, advocate for your growth and development to maximize your effectiveness and influence. Set your sights on being a future industry leader. Don’t miss this invaluable opportunity to expand your leadership skills and transform your ASC culture.