The Nursing Shortage & Patient Safety: The Ambulatory Surgery Center Solution
The current nursing shortage was predicted for quite some time. With the boomer generation of nurses retiring and a lower number of nursing students enrolling, it was bound to happen. What the industry was not expecting was the exasperation of burnout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to even more staffing shortages. A 2021 survey by the American Nurses Foundation found that 41% of nurses cited insufficient staffing as the reason they wanted to leave their job.
On top of staffing shortages, nurses are having to handle high stress working conditions, difficult schedules, and low levels of compensation and benefits. It takes a long time for nurses to be trained for different perioperative specialties, which is why hospital systems have chosen to rely more on traveling nurses who get paid much higher than regularly employed nurses. This, in turn, lowers the general morale of the staff.
A 2021 survey by the American Nurses Foundation found that 41% of nurses cited insufficient staffing as the reason they wanted to leave their job.
Issues in the Operating Room
Nursing shortages and high turnover rates present challenges for surgeons as well. In a hospital setting, surgeons often do not know their operating room team before walking in to perform surgery. This makes the surgical process less efficient and increases the risk of complications or errors.
In this situation, surgeons do not feel like they are in control of their team or the procedure. They can feel frustrated and dissatisfied by their experience in the OR, leading to more burnout.
The Nursing Shortage Affects Patients
The national nursing shortage is not just a headache for hospitals and healthcare system administrators—most crucially, it’s a problem that affects patient safety. Studies show that the more a surgery team has trained or worked together, the more likely patient outcomes will improve. The teamwork and collaboration needed to improve patient outcomes is difficult to achieve with understaffed teams or teams with constantly revolving staff.
Many patients have difficulties getting into the operating room. Due to staffing shortages, patients are waiting longer for care. People are being turned away even in life-threatening emergencies, unfortunately.
Ambulatory Surgery Centers: A Solution for Everyone
Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are fast becoming the better solution to problems caused by the nursing shortage. ASCs provide operating theatres for the surgeon with seasoned teams who were burned out from the hospital setting. Many times, the surgeon brings his or her own team to the surgery center, significantly lowering the risk to the patient.
Ambulatory surgery centers have repeatedly proven to improve patient health outcomes. This is because patients spend less time under anesthesia and benefit from a full and cohesive surgery team that carries less risk of complication or infection than a hospital.
High Performance Providers
These advantages of ambulatory surgery centers are reasons why High Performance Providers prefers to partner with surgeons who either own or are closely aligned with independent surgery centers. Our research also shows that higher quality outcomes are delivered in ASCs where the surgeon performs with his or her own team rather than a surgical team assigned by hospital administration.
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