Cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment

Physi­cians Sur­gi­cal Hos­pi­tals works hard to keep turnover low


Physi­cians Sur­gi­cal Hos­pi­tals in Amar­illo, Texas, typ­i­cally has a staff turnover of un­der 5% a year, an en­vi­able num­ber for most hos­pi­tals, where turnover usu­ally is closer to 15% a year. Help­ing to re­tain em­ploy­ees are many com­mon perks such as em­ployee ap­pre­ci­a­tion par­ties, bonuses and staff awards. There are also some less typ­i­cal ben­e­fits. For ex­am­ple, em­ploy­ees are treated to free break­fast and lunch ev­ery day, pre­pared by a chef. The two-hospi­tal sys­tem also has a fit­ness cen­ter open around the clock for em­ploy­ees and their fam­ily mem­bers.

The two hos­pi­tals, which pri­mar­ily of­fer elec­tive surg­eries and pain man­age­ment, are open 24/7, but they sched­ule most surg­eries dur­ing the nor­mal 9-to-5 work­day. “That, frankly, is some­thing em­ploy­ees like,” CEO Brad McCall said. “The ma­jor­ity of our staff works a reg­u­lar work week, which is un­usual in health­care.”

Physi­cians Sur­gi­cal Hos­pi­tals is No. 1 in the rank­ing of small providers in Mod­ern Health­care’s Best Places to Work in Health­care for 2015. It’s No. 4 among all providers and No. 8 over­all.

Peo­ple like work­ing there, de­spite what seems like a hec­tic pace for the 100 or so em­ploy­ees at each fa­cil­ity. They are in­volved in more than 650 surg­eries a month be­tween the two fa­cil­i­ties.

McCall be­lieves less tan­gi­ble fac­tors also make Physi­cians Sur­gi­cal stand out, in­clud­ing own­ers who fo­cus on hir­ing em­ploy­ees who fit the cul­ture and aren’t in a far­away cor­po­rate of­fice.

“What’s our se­cret sauce? We have physi­cians who are own­ers and are highly en­gaged,” McCall said. That means “de­ci­sions are all made by doc­tors, not in a board room.”

And those doc­tors have in­sisted on higher-than-nor­mal staffing ra­tios. “We try to keep our ra­tios on the pro-pa­tient side, maybe not so much on the pro-pock­et­book side,” McCall said.

That trans­lates into a pos­i­tive work­ing en­vi­ron­ment that re­duces stress on the staff.

“Our nurse-to-pa­tient ra­tio is 1-to-4 on av­er­age,” said Shan­non Smith, a reg­is­tered nurse and case man­ager. “You can take care of your pa­tients like you want to take care of your pa­tients.”

Those at­tributes, along with work­place perks, draw a lot of ap­pli­cants from the Texas Pan­han­dle and the sur­round­ing area who would like to be em­ployed by Physi­cians Sur­gi­cal—which in turn al­lows the com­pany to strengthen its po­si­tion as a good place to work, be­cause it can hire those who best fit the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s cul­ture.

“We’re a cov­eted place to work,” McCall said. “That al­lows you to be se­lec­tive.”

Man­agers at Physi­cians Sur­gi­cal Hos­pi­tals work hard to re­tain their staff, shown here in a group pic­ture at an an­nual meet­ing.

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