Effingham ASC Administrator aims to ‘accelerate’ culture of employee appreciation

Jeany Dunaway, RN, is an administrator at Effingham Ambulatory Surgery Center in Illinois.

Ms. Dunaway will be part of the main panel “The Next 5 Years for CSAs: What Will Work, What Won’t Work and More” at Becker’s CSA Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker speaks with healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the Oct. 27-29 conference in Chicago.

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Question: What’s the smartest thing you’ve done in the past year to set your organization up for success?

Jeany Dunaway: I think the best things about the past year have been promoting nurse retention and improving employee satisfaction. In today’s healthcare market, it is very difficult for CHWs to compete for staffing. We pride ourselves on providing the best care, but retaining the best nurses has been a challenge over the past year. Post COVID, staff morale is at the lowest I have seen in many years. The mantra of “teamwork” has become an “every man for himself” environment. Keeping the great staff you have in place and happy with their work has been difficult but imperative.

Q: What are you most excited about right now and what makes you nervous?

JD: We started our total joint program in 2021 and had a slow start, but I’m really excited to see the program ramping up as surgeons and our staff become familiar with the processes. It’s exciting to see the great results our patients get and how satisfied they are with our services. I think the ongoing problems with the supply of equipment, supplies and medicines will always make me nervous in the future. The shortages we have experienced over the past year are many and varied. Let’s face it – there’s no rhyme or reason for some of them. So anything that I can’t figure out makes me nervous.

Q: How do you see growth over the next 12 months?

JD: I think CSAs as a whole are set up for continued growth. We have multiple challenges for this growth, but I believe the platforms we have in place can continue to grow as the public and payers recognize the excellent care we provide at a lower cost. Overall, I feel that cases will continue to leave us in the acute care setting. The risk is that some go from CHWs to the office, but that has always been a risk.

Q: What will healthcare executives and leaders need to be effective leaders over the next five years?

JD: Persistence and a plan, I believe, are the keys. I fought for full articulation at my facility for seven years before treating our first case. Let’s face it, many health and life endeavors are a marathon, not a sprint. I think we always have to look for ways to grow and improve what we do.

Q: What is your strategy for recruiting and retaining great teams?

JD: I am focused on employee appreciation and teamwork. Of course, money is always an incentive, but at the rates hospitals and travel agencies pay, CHWs cannot compete on compensation alone. We need to be able to provide the work environment that staff want to be part of. We’ve always had a culture of employee appreciation, but in this environment, I’m trying to intensify it to make our establishment that kind of place to work.

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