ASC Leaders Share Advice and Experiences About 5 Critical Management Issues

Successful ASC leaders draw upon a career's worth of knowledge and experiences when making decisions that impact their centers. Here, four ASC leaders discuss the best advice they have received and the advice they would give to other leaders in their field on five management issues.

On decision-making:
"Always make decisions based on: first, the patient; second, the business; and third, the staff, because without one and two, you don't have three." — Margaret Acker, CEO, Blake Wood Medical Park Surgery Center, Jackson, Miss.

"Always do the 'right' thing. This means be honorable, weigh your options to ensure your decision is sound ethically, legally and humanely, and is what is best for the facility/organization." — Sarah Martin, regional vice president of operations, Meridian Surgical Partners

On staffing:
"Surround yourself with nice people who are talented. A nice person can be taught any skill, but a skilled person cannot be taught to be nice." — Barbara Draves, administrator/owner, The Surgery Center, Middleburg Heights, Ohio

"The key to running a successful facility is having a staff that is exceptional with varying talent areas. Have experts in every specialty, and have them cross-train the others so that you don't become solely reliable on one nurse or tech for specific specialties. It's okay to let the doctors have the tech or nurse they feel the most comfortable with on their block days, but make sure you mix in the other techs and nurses to set everyone up for success. Work tirelessly to make sure the relationships between your surgeons and your staff remain positive. It's much easier to keep it that way, than fix it once it goes awry." — James McGehee, administrator, Cleburne (Texas) Surgical Center

On resignations:
"Once someone has submitted their resignation, let them go. Do not try to get them to stay. They have already made their mental decision to leave, and if they do stay, my experience has been that the stay is brief and they move on. Whatever is causing them to want to move on is still there within them." — Ms. Martin

On managing:
"I think back to one of my mentors who told me to never get so far away from the frontlines that you lose touch with what you are doing. Whether you are a clinical administrator or a business administrator, take time to go in the back and work side by side or observe your clinical staff on a busy day. As a clinical administrator I try to occasionally work in the clinical area to keep my skills current and build employee relations. The drawback is if you spend much time in the clinical area, you get behind with the administrative side." — Mr. McGehee

"The best decision I've made for my ASC was encouraging the staff to seek certification in their specialties in order to reach to top of our pay scale. We now hold board certifications in every area including medical staff, coding, ambulatory nursing, scrub tech and administration. We have folks actively pursuing CNOR and infection control. This sprouted a Blake Woods Journal Club, and has helped to make our environment one of continuous learning." — Ms. Acker

"Don't let that word 'administrator' go to your head. For a successful ASC you need to be able to mop a floor, change oxygen tanks, shovel snow, schmooze doctors, hug nurses, unload supply trucks, negotiate insurance contracts, understand quality and never take your eyes off the numbers. The simple definition for an ASC administrator reads 'Do Everything.'" — Ms. Draves

On personal development:
"Develop a great voracious appetite for reading, because it's a daily activity if you plan to stay current." — Ms. Acker

"Mentor and appreciate the employees. You get paid for the work they do." — Ms. Acker

"Have Fun. Running an ASC has to come from your heart. If you are not having fun, find another job." — Ms. Draves

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