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Archive September 2014 XV, No. 9

How Do Your Anesthesia Providers Rate?

What your colleagues really think about what goes on at the head of the table.

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Editor-in-Chief


anesthesia providers CRITICAL CARE Anesthesia providers can make or break procedures performed in outpatient facilities.

Are you happy with your anesthesia providers, or have you had it up to here with them not pitching in and helping out? Our survey of 138 facility leaders revealed that only 9% are looking to switch anesthesia services any time soon. While most trust in the clinical abilities of their CRNAs and anesthesiologists, that doesn’t mean some of you don’t wish your providers spent more time outside the staff lounge between cases (see Readers Sound Off on Anesthesia Providers on page 64).

Positive reviews
There are many things Brenda Vahle, RN, CAPA, loves about her anesthesiologists, starting with their help in launching the now 3-year old BSM Surgery Center in Corvallis, Ore.

“I had never set up a center before,” says Ms. Vahle. “They picked out every piece of equipment they’d need, every medication in the formulary.”

Today, they help conduct mock codes such as malignant hyperthermia and lidocaine toxicity drills. They come in on their off days to attend staff meetings, answer their cell phones at any hour and will lend you a tractor. Wait, a tractor? “If you need them to,” laughs Ms. Vahle. “This is farm country.”

Her surgery center started with a group of 9 anesthesiologists, some of whom would sedate the same way, no matter which procedure patients were undergoing. Patients would sometimes take longer to wake up than the surgery lasted, which jammed up the recovery room.

In the years since, Ms. Vahle and the center’s physician-owners handpicked a core group of 5 providers who have the mindset to work in ambulatory surgery. “They are proactive in ensuring patients are pain-free and experience no [nausea or vomiting]” she says. “They have a knack to manage anesthesia so patients are alert soon after they arrive in recovery, and are ready to go home in a timely manner.”

Her providers have achieved 99% positive ratings in patient satisfaction surveys over the last 3 years. A Joint Commission surveyor recently said he had never seen a more dedicated group. Their hand hygiene practices are impeccable. They listen closely to breath sounds, focus intently on airway assessments and perform detailed pre-op assessments. Following notoriously painful ACL surgeries, 95% of patients require no additional medication other than the femoral and popliteal blocks the anesthesiologists administer.

You know those providers that you wouldn’t want sedating your family? (Yes, you do.) “There’s not one here like that,” says Ms. Vahle.

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