The workforce trends concerning ASCs

Four ASC leaders joined Becker's to discuss the workforce trends that are affecting surgery centers most at the moment. 

Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

Grant Cook. CEO of National Surgery Consultants (Scottsdale, Ariz.): Higher pay rates for really any clinical position in the ASC with a limited number of people out there to fill roles.

William Hightower. Executive Director of Shelby Baptist Ambulatory Surgery Center (Birmingham, Ala.): Most of our staff chooses to work at an ASC for a reason. They are choosing work-life balance over the boost in pay they could gain by working in the traditional hospital environment. The problem we are starting to see is that as more ambulatory jobs become available, the ability to retain workers becomes more difficult as there are more comparable employment options. We are also seeing a shortage of qualified surgical technicians entering the workforce.

Ali Heidari, MD. Medical Director of Contour Aesthetic Surgery Center (Upland, Calif.): More nurse anesthetists to replace the anesthesiologist shortage. More anesthesia staff to be employed by the ASCs. More new graduate nurses to be employed to avert high cost of staffing.

Peter Bravos, MD. Chief Medical Officer of Sutter Health's Surgery Center Division (Yuba City, Calif.):

1. Shortages of operating room nurses and techs: The scarcity of qualified OR nurses and technicians is a significant challenge for ASCs. The high demand for these professionals allows them to easily switch jobs based on better compensation and benefits elsewhere.

2. Job hopping: Due to the shortages and high demand, OR nurses and techs have the flexibility to move between ASCs or other healthcare facilities in search of better opportunities.

3. Increased case volumes: ASCs are experiencing higher case volumes, which adds to the workload and intensifies the need for skilled staff. This growth in patient numbers can strain the existing workforce.

4. Challenges in supporting growth: The combination of staff shortages and increased case volumes presents challenges for ASCs in maintaining the quality of care and operational efficiency needed to support their growth objectives.


To address these trends, ASCs may need to focus on strategies for recruiting and retaining skilled OR nurses and techs, improving workplace benefits and compensation packages, optimizing operational efficiency to handle increased case volumes and investing in training and development programs to enhance the skills of existing staff.

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