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Leadership & training essential for staff satisfaction in the operating theatre

22 Jul 2013, by Informa Insights

Banner Operating Theatre ManagementThe healthcare sector is facing unique challenges when it comes to increasing staff satisfaction, training, recruitment and retention. We had the chance to speak to some of the presenters from our 5th Annual Operating Theatre Management conference about their key challenges and strategies for staff management in the operating theatre.

Jodie Hulm, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Theatre, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children WA

Kirstie Johnson, Clinical Development Nurse, Theatre, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children WA

As an education and management support team we were concerned about the emerging negative workplace culture and poor staff morale that was enveloping our department.  The key staff management challenges identified included an unbalanced skill mix, with a disproportionately large ratio of junior or inexperienced staff members to experienced staff, staffing issues and an increased number of performance management problems.  During this period clinical incident reporting reflected an increase in near misses for avoidable human errors.  This increase highlighted a need to review current workplace standards, practices and staff compliance and satisfaction.

In order to address these issues we firstly sought consultation with human resources and our hospital nursing models of care (NMOC) team who were implementing Practice Development hospital wide.  The strategies we developed to address these challenges include conducting a baseline theatre nursing culture survey, arranging consecutive culture workshops for nursing staff to promote a person centred environment.  Survey results indicated a need for management to attend practice development education and training to enable the facilitation of transformational leadership.  An ongoing education plan has been adopted to address the needs of all theatre staff, together with a more rigorous performance appraisal and development system.

As we prepare to transition to a new children’s hospital in 2015 we aim to improve our staff morale in order to maximise staff retention and to become a workplace of choice to aid recruitment.

Charmayne Thompson, Operations Manager Perioperative Services, The Womens, VIC

Key staff management challenges will be similar across most operating suites.

Staff training should always be a shared obligation between employer and employee.

Staff satisfaction recruitment and retention is about recruiting effectively in the beginning and then engaging and motivating staff once they are part of your organisation.

Striving for a positive workplace culture where poor behaviours are dealt with effectively and staff are recognised and rewarded for their positive attitude and good performance has always been my aim.

The term KPI in my language refers to Keeping People Interested.

We all should use our ability as a leader and a manager to engage and motivate staff to always strive for excellence. My experience tells me the other KPIs will improve on the back of this transformational leadership approach.

Sharon Cassidy, CNE, Central Australian Hospital Network, Department of Health NT

Alice Springs Hospital faces some unique challenges due to its patient population and the transient nature of its staffing, which has a direct impact on client satisfaction and staff skill mix within the hospital. The fluctuation of staff provides unique challenges for the ASH managers with regards to staff satisfaction, training, recruitment and retention.

KPI’s that are monitored routinely within perioperative services such as safety, efficiency and utilisation have to be kept in mind. Tweaking of management strategies needs to occur to ensure patient safety, time management, the maximisation of efficiency and utilisation and enhancement of satisfaction with all participants and users of the service.

To ensure staff are prepared for the diverse multicultural environment (professional, staff and patient) at ASH, it is imperative that they are supported educated and provided with the tools necessary to carry out their roles in line with Australian standards.

A strategy that has been embraced and utilised within the ASH peri-operative environment is inter-professional learning, which involves all discipline’s (anaesthetists, surgeons, nurses, tech’s & patient care assistants). With the introduction of inter-professional learning and the use of simulation we are promoting a safe environment that helps facilitate effective inter-professional communication, enables education and training. This process has facilitated the introduction of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist and its champions from a number of different disciplines. With on-going education and the promotion of effective communication we are increasing staff satisfaction, training and retention.

Phyllis Davis, Nursing Director, Randwick Campus Operating Suite, The Prince of Wales Hospital, The Sydney Children’s Hospital, The Royal Hospital for Women

Education is the silver bullet!

We need to increase the number of clinical educators to support the beginning practitioners and overseas recruits. It is now a very rare event to get an experienced perioperative RN – we take a lot of overseas RN’s and even though they are “experienced” they still need a lot of support. We are lucky if we get 4 – 5 year for our recent recruits – and we must accept this turnover. It is only the baby boomers who stay forever.

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