ASC team building: How to create productive staff members and develop a positive culture

Laura Dyrda - Print  |

Michelle Fischer, FACHE, administrator of San Antonio-based Christus Santa Rosa Physicians Ambulatory Surgery Center-Stone Oak, discusses the big challenges and opportunities in ASC staffing.

Question: What has been your biggest staffing challenge and how do you overcome it?

Michelle Fisher: The biggest staffing challenge we have is finding the right fit for the organization. To help with this challenge we utilize a behavioral-based interview approach during the leader and peer interviews to help determine fit. I also meet with every single prospective candidate as the facility administrator to share my philosophy and expectations of team members.

Q: What is your philosophy on building and maintaining a positive culture at the ASC?

MF: I believe in being visible and supportive for the staff and in always setting the example by my behavior and actions, and I expect the same from my leaders within the ASC. I see my role as the resource for the staff and physicians to ensure they have what they need to take the best care of our patients. As the leader, and to maintain our positive culture, I have an open-door policy and enjoy showing our associates how much we appreciate them by having associate appreciation events at the facility to include monthly birthday celebrations, potluck lunches, games and drawings during special events throughout the year, etc. When the associates are happy to come to work and feel supported and appreciated, the patients, families and physicians also feel the warmth and positive culture, leading to better outcomes.

Q: What tips do you have for new administrators managing an ASC team for the first time?

MF: Listen to your associates and shadow them in all areas of operations to learn what challenges they face and what additional support they may need. Don't be afraid to 'get your hands dirty' and ask questions! The staff love to show their boss what they know and how well they take care of patients, you'll learn more spending time in the 'trenches' than in meetings. Learn all areas to include scheduling, admitting, collections, preoperative, intraoperative, SPD and postoperative care. New administrators should learn all aspects of operations at the ASC to better understand the full spectrum of operations, which makes us all better leaders.

Q: How have you challenged your team to grow in 2019?

MF: Great question. I've challenged my teams to come up with quarterly community service projects that we can participate in as an organization to grow our teamwork and better support our local community. I have also asked my leaders to meet with staff in their departments in small groups to engage them in discussions surrounding challenges they may have or opportunities they see in their areas such as clinical quality, patient satisfaction, etc.

I've asked the leaders to spend time mentoring the staff, especially those who may be seeking to improve their skills in a particular area or who may be interested in moving up to a charge nurse position or other areas of additional responsibility within the organization.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Laura Dyrda at

For a deeper dive into ASC industry trends, attend the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC in Chicago, June 13-5, 2019. Click here to learn more and register.

More articles on surgery centers:
10 states with the most Medicare-certified ASCs
4 orthopedic ASCs, outpatient facilities in January
ASCs are 'anxious to show their value': Leapfrog CEO explains decision to lift survey cap

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.