Archive June 2018 XIX, No. 6

The Quest for Faster Room Turnover

9 steps for more efficient room setup and teardown.

Margaret Wasserman

Margaret Wasserman, BSN, RN, CNOR

BIO

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READY, SET... OR turnover time is most efficient when everyone is on the same page, using the same definition of room turnover.

Why do we obsess over turnover time? It's simple: Time is money and highly resource-intensive OR time is incredibly expensive. And besides being a source of lost revenue, room delays can frustrate surgeons, staff and patients.

We all want to lower our turnover times, but what exactly are we measuring?

Depends on whom you ask. For your nurses, turnover time is typically "wheels out" to "wheels in," meaning from when one patient leaves the OR until the next patient enters. For your anesthesiologists, turnover time is typically from when one patient is transported to PACU and report is given until the next patient's anesthetic induction. And for your surgeons, turnover time is typically from closure of one patient's wound until the next patient's incision. If you want to better your turnover times, the first thing you must do is get everyone to agree to a single definition. Think of it as syncing your watches.

If you don't have a sense of your average turnover time, get out your stopwatch. Then figure out an appropriate goal for your facility. Too low of a goal is not necessarily better. After all, you don't want to put your patients at risk, and you don't want to drive your staff away. In fact, this might be a good time to include your staff — ask them for their opinion on a safe goal for turnover time. Staff who help decide a goal for turnover time are likely to be invested in meeting that goal.

Now that you've settled on a definition and set a goal, you're ready to put a plan into action. These tips might come in handy.

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