How Comfortable Are Your ORs?
Take this hospital's lead and focus on features that ease the daily grind.
Daniel Cook, Executive Editor
The OR is their home away from home, the place where your surgeons and staff spend countless hours mired in the grueling grind of surgery. The least you can do is make sure they're comfortable on the job. When Belleville General Hospital in Ontario, Canada, opened 6 state-of-the-art ORs earlier this year, the shiny new instruments and sparkling video towers were welcome additions, but the surgical team wanted more. They wanted to move around without knocking heads. They wanted better lighting and integrated controls. Ultimately, they wanted to be comfortable in the rooms where they spend hours on end putting others' needs ahead of their own.
"We got to see, hear, research and know what was extremely important to them," says Janet Baragar, RN, program director of surgical services at Quinte Health Care, the hospital's parent company. "In the end, we were able to address the issues that improve their work environment."
Room to breathe
Hospital leaders used 3D models to configure the new 500-square-foot rooms, which are nearly twice as big as the cramped ORs they replaced, to know where to place the booms, the surgical table and the nursing station in order to optimize use of the space. "It took a lot of time, but it was time well spent," says Ms. Baragar.
The difference is noticeable to Kristina Cruess, RN, RNFA, CPN(C), BA, BScN, MST, MPA, clinical educator at Quinte Health Care, who remembers standing pressed against the back walls of the old ORs to watch the surgical action while steering clear of it. Now surgeons, nurses, techs, anesthesia providers and medical students all have room to breathe. That's promoted better technique, which is important to the entire surgical team.
"Clutter was also a big issue," according to Ms. Cruess, referring to the tangle of cords that crisscrossed the floor and the piles of surgical supplies that made the small rooms feel even smaller. "When you decrease clutter, you decrease stress," she says.