AAMI News October 2018

Sterile Processing Takes Active Role in Surgeon Onboarding

Tanya Cambise
Tanya Cambise

For the first time at Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico, the sterile processing department is taking an active role in surgeon onboarding.

“This is a significant change for our department,” said Tanya Cambise, CRST, RVT, sterile processing manager at the healthcare system. “We have been tasked not only with onboarding the surgeons, but also coming up with a standard process for getting instrumentation needs met.”

Physician satisfaction spurred the change. “The last two years were particularly challenging regarding physician satisfaction within the organization,” Cambise said. “Physician surveys demonstrated a need for the organization to focus not only on patients, but also on providers’ satisfaction.”

Executives tasked all leaders with creating a goal for improving physician or, in her case, surgeon satisfaction. “Surgeon satisfaction is multifaceted and much of it does not pertain to sterile processing,” Cambise said. “But one crucial area is the ability to provide the right instrumentation when needed. Surgeons’ instrumentation needs are critical to their success and overall satisfaction in the operating room (OR).” Focusing on all surgeons would have been too broad. Instead, she narrowed the focus to new surgeons onboarding into the OR.

While she had assisted team leads “on the back end” of surgeon onboarding in the past, taking the lead role was new to her. “Without any previous experience with onboarding surgeons, I had to create my own path to follow,” including discussions of their instrumentation needs, she said. This year alone, she has participated in onboarding three surgeons, each with unique challenges.

Key Takeaways

Cambise shared these suggestions for improving surgeons’ satisfaction:

Ask for the surgeon’s previous hospital count sheets and preference cards during the hiring process. Count sheets and preference cards provide the specifics of instrument, supply, and equipment needs. Reviewing a surgeon’s count sheets and preference cards and cross-referencing them to current inventory provide a rough idea of the instrumentation needed before hiring.

Set aside time during the onboarding process to do a hands-on review of instrument sets. This can be the most difficult task to accomplish. Coordinate with the surgeon’s scheduler to guarantee that the time needed is available. Sometimes you need to be creative to catch a surgeon before or after a procedure to sign off on an instrument.

Use whatever resources you have available when sourcing difficult-to-find instruments. Track custom instruments back to the last hospital where the surgeon used them. Talk with instrument reps from that territory to help track down the custom order. Ultimately, there will be instruments that cannot be found. Putting in the work to show that the instrument cannot be found goes a long way toward earning the trust of surgeons. It shows