Charles Trentham, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Medical Officer, Clinical Colleagues, Inc.
For hospital anesthesia teams, finding the right Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is the ultimate key to success. Based on our experience in the field, Clinical Colleagues has seen the CRNA model work well for hospitals that follow a few key guidelines in terms of how a CRNA is hired and ultimately integrated into the anesthesia department:
- Know your needs and hire accordingly. You could spend hours on end assessing market data, and seeing what your competitors are paying. Or, you could focus instead on what your hospital needs, and what characteristics you require in a CRNA in order to achieve your goals. Do you simply need someone with good clinical skills to support “bread and butter” cases? Or, do your surgeons need a truly seasoned CRNA who is a capable of performing blocks for orthopedic cases or handling more complex cases like cardiac or neurosurgery? Take a critical look at what you actually need and how much you should compensate a candidate who meets your requirements, with less focus on what everyone else out there is doing.
- Provide a detailed job description that will ring true. Make sure your job description is written in a way that clearly defines how much supervision your CRNA will have, and specific areas where the person will be expected to work independently. Also include information about the CRNA’s on-call responsibilities and response times. Being detailed will assure the person you hire is capable of doing the job, willing to do the job, and will be comfortable in their new work environment, with no surprises.
- Draw a fine line between maturity and ego. A CRNA is neither a doctor nor a nurse. But a CRNA has to know how to do things that both doctors and nurses are typically responsible for. That said, a good CRNA will be capable of walking that “fine line” – managing a broad range of tasks with maturity and leadership, but also knowing when the time is right to ask for help without hesitation.
- Stress the importance of teamwork. Regardless of how independently you need your CRNA to work, he or she will ultimately be in constant collaboration with your physicians, nurses and other key members of your patient care team. Having a CRNA on the team who embraces the opportunity to work with others, and sees value in being a team player, will have a significant positive impact on your overall operation.
- Provide support. Make sure your CRNA has the support and guidance he or she needs to be successful. Provide a thorough on-boarding process and connect your CRNA with a few “go to” people who have been around for a while and can help on-the-spot, as your new CRNA is adjusting to their new work space. And finally, schedule ongoing meetings with your CRNA. Having a small amount of time set aside to simply “touch base” to see how things are going, and address questions and concerns, can go a long way in making your new CRNA happy and loyal to you.
About Charles (Chuck) Trentham, M.D., M.B.A. and Clinical Colleagues, Inc.
Charles Trentham, M.D., M.B.A. is the Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Colleagues, Inc., and is double-boarded in Anesthesiology and Pediatrics. With more than 20 years of experience, he is responsible for the management oversight of anesthesia practices nationwide, and works collaboratively with hospital leaders to implement safe and efficient anesthesia services at community hospitals. To learn more about Dr. Trentham and Clinical Colleagues visit www.ccianesthesia.com.