Jeany Dunaway, RN, is administrator at Effingham Ambulatory Surgery Center in Ill.
Ms. Dunaway will serve on the keynote panel “The Next 5 Years for ASCs: What Will Work, What Won't Work and More” at Becker’s ASC Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker’s is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference on Oct. 27-29 in Chicago.
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Question: What is the smartest thing you've done in the last year to set your organization up for success?
Jeany Dunaway: I think the best things in the last year have been promoting nurse retention and improved employee satisfaction. In the current healthcare market, it is very difficult for ASCs to compete for staffing. We pride ourselves on giving the best care, but retaining the best nurses has been a challenge over the last year. Post COVID, staff morale is the lowest I have seen in many years. The “teamwork” mantra has changed to an “every man for yourself” environment. Keeping the great staff you have in place and happy with their jobs has been difficult but imperative.
Q: What are you most excited about right now and what makes you nervous?
JD: We started our total joint program in 2021 and have had a slow start, but I’m really excited to see the program ramping up as both the surgeons and our staff become more comfortable with the processes. It’s exciting to see the excellent results our patients are experiencing and how pleased they are with our services. I think the continued issues with procurement of equipment, supplies and medications are always going to make me nervous going forward. The shortages we have experienced over the last year are many and varied. Let’s face it — there isn’t a rhyme or reason to some of them. So anything I can’t get a grasp on makes me nervous.
Q: How are you thinking about growth over the next 12 months?
JD: I think ASCs overall are set up for continued growth. We have multiple challenges to that growth, but I think the platforms we have set in place can continue to expand as both the public and payers are recognizing the excellent care we provide for a lower cost. Overall, I feel like cases will continue to move out of the acute care setting to us. The risk is that some will move from ASCs to the office setting, but that’s always been a risk.
Q: What will healthcare executives and leaders need to be effective leaders for the next five years?
JD: Perseverance and a plan, I believe, are the keys. I fought for a total joint at my facility for seven years before we did our first case. Let’s face it — many endeavors in healthcare and life are a marathon, not a sprint. I think we always have to be looking for ways to grow and improve what we do.
Q: What is your strategy for recruiting and retaining great teams?
JD: I am focused on employee appreciation and team building. Of course, money is always an incentive, but at the rates that hospitals and traveling agencies are paying ASCs can’t compete based solely on compensation. We have to be able to provide the working environment that staff want to be a part of. We’ve always had an employee appreciation culture but in this environment, I’m trying to ramp that up to make our facility that type of workplace.