AORN Blog - The Periop Life

How to Host an Effective ASC In-Service

A Conversation with ASC leaders Celia Smith and Kristi Ketchum

How to Host an Effective ASC In-Service

September 8, 2019   

Making the time to plan and shape an in-service can be more challenging in the fast-paced, lean-staffed environment of an ASC, where not all team members may be in one place at the same time and ready to stick around or get engaged in education.

ASC leaders Celia Smith and Kristi Ketchum have each found their own ways to encourage widespread involvement and engagement in ASC in-service planning and implementation.

They recently shared with The Periop Life some of their tried-and-true tricks for ASC in-services that effectively boost team knowledge.

1. Ask the frontline what they need—Before spinning your wheels to devise an in-service schedule, go to your frontline teammates and ask what they want to learn or are passionate about, Ketchum advises. “This helps to engage your learners. We need to inspire them to research and seek knowledge and share it with their teammates by leading the in-service themselves, it also helps you determine knowledge gaps that in-service education can fill.”

2. Get education on the schedule—Smith reviews the surgery schedule far in advance to block an in-service immediately after cases on a light day. “I try to make sure I choose a day when all or most of the staff are there, including my PRN nurses,” she says. For those who can’t attend, she rounds back to them after the in-service to share key points from the education and have them sign off on receiving the education after the in-service.

3. Talk about everyday practices—Too often policies are created but not shared and reiterated on the frontline, Ketchum says. To prevent this disconnect, she holds a regular “Policy of the Week” in-service to review a policy with the team and get their feedback on how the policy is working or could be improved.

4. Engage your audience and get them talking—Smith shapes moments for open dialogue in each of her in-services through open-ended questions she poses to the audience and through real practice examples to engage the team in discussion during a learning activity.

5. Bring food and stretch—At Smith’s facility, because education often happens at the end of a day of cases, she always brings food to her in-services, so team members have a chance to recharge before switching gears to a learning activity. She also takes time during the in-service to break for five minutes of stretching to refresh and reset when she sees her team members fading.

6. Connect beyond your facility to gather in-service material—As a former CMS surveyor, Ketchum never hesitates to call her state agency in Oregon and check on updates to rules and regulations. She uses data from the Oregon Patient Safety Commission who publishes an annual report that outlines what types of adverse events are being reported and the best ways to create a culture of safety. Ketchum also connects with leaders at the ASCs in her local area to ask about education they are sharing that might benefit her team, too.


Looking for ASC-focused in-service material? Find it with AORN’s new ASC In-Service of the Month, which provides access to a ready-to-use, evidence-based in-service library with presentations, case studies, podcasts and knowledge games based on the AORN Guidelines for Perioperative Practice. View the topics and request a demo today.

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Celia Smith, RN, BSN, CASC, is CEO of Creekside Surgery Center in The Woodlands, TX. Kristi Ketchum, RN, MBA, HACP, CPHQ, is CEO of Oregon Outpatient Surgery Center in Tigard, OR. Both centers are affiliates of Surgical Care Affiliates.