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Anesth Analg. 2008 Dec;107(6):1989-96. doi: 10.1213/ane.0b013e31818874a8.

Operating room nursing directors' influence on anesthesia group operating room productivity.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York, USA.



Implementation of initiatives to increase anesthesia group productivity depends not just on anesthesia groups, but on operating room (OR) nursing administration. OR nursing directors may encourage organizational change based on the needs of their hospitals and nurses. These changes may differ from those that would increase the anesthesia group's productivity. We assessed reward structures using (A) letters of nomination for the "OR Manager of the Year" award offered annually by the publication OR Manager, and (B) data from a salary/career survey of OR directors by the same publication.


(A) There were 164 nomination letters submitted from 2004 through 2007 for 45 nominees. The letters contained n = 2659 full sentences and n = 50,821 words. We systematically created a list of 36 terms related to finance, profit, and productivity. We also analyzed the frequency of use of these terms relative to the use of the 15 most common relationship-oriented terms (e.g., compassion, encourage, mentor, and respect). (B) The salary/career survey's questions relevant to anesthesia group productivity had responses from 303 US OR directors, 97% of whom were nurses. We tested the strength of the relationship between the budget responsibility of the OR nursing director and his or her annual salary.


(A) 2.6% of sentences in the nomination letters included at least one term related to profit and productivity (95% confidence interval 2.0%-3.2%). Relationship-oriented terms were 9.0 times more prevalent (95% confidence interval 7.1-11.4). (B) There was statistically significant positive proportionality between the OR nursing director's operational budget (including personnel) and his or her salary (Pearson r = 0.64, P < 0.001). The 10th percentile of the operational budget was $1 million and the 90th percentile was $36 million. The budget of $1 million was associated with a salary 22% less than the median and the budget of $36 million was associated with a salary 22% larger than the median.


Through (A) organizational constituencies, and (B) compensation, many US OR nursing directors likely are encouraged to enhance relations with nursing staff, not to champion organizational initiatives that would reduce under-utilized OR time and OR nursing labor costs. Resulting decisions can differ from those that would increase the productivity (profit) of the anesthesia group. Anesthesia groups need to champion initiatives to increase anesthesia productivity, while being sensitive to institutional expectations of nursing directors.

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