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OR Excellence Awards - September 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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T he Ambulatory Surgical Center at St. Cloud (Minn.) VA Health Care System drastically reduced surgical waste by listening to new ideas and fresh feedback from its staff. "We always make it a priori- ty to ensure everybody's voice is heard," says Jody L. Wessel, LPN, CRMST, a certified surgical tech- nologist at the Ambulatory Surgical Center, in reference to the facility's environmental efforts. "That way anyone can come for- ward and say, 'This seems like a waste, what can we do to repur- pose it?'" The staff's efforts to go green earned the facility this year's OR Excellence Award for Environmental Stewardship. Ms. Wessel says their collaborative approach is the direct result of how the facility structured its green OR initiatives, which began around six years ago at the suggestion of the facility's industrial hygienist. One of the first actions the facility took was the for- mation of a core group to review and identify any- thing that could be recycled, reused or repurposed. In addition to Ms. Wessel, the group included an anesthesiologist, an orthopedic surgeon, a nurse, a surgical tech and a nursing assistant. "Once we got buy in from that core group in the ambulatory surgery department, they promoted it among everyone within their areas and then we got leadership to embrace the idea," says Ms. Wessel. The facility's first conservation project was con- servative in scope. "We simply cut down on paper usage from charting," says Ms. Wessel. However, with a diverse group of staff given full access to make their carbon-reducing ideas known, it wasn't long before the green program took off. The facility's many initiatives are proof that ideas can come from anywhere and anyone — you just have to be willing to listen and act upon them. • Vial and cap recycling. Both medication vials and their corresponding caps are recycled and reused in a manner that benefits both the planet and patients. Vial caps are distributed to St. Cloud's Occupational and Recreational Departments to aid in the recovery of stroke patients, veterans and those enrolled in the facility's adult daycare. "The patients practice pulling out the caps by size to strengthen their finger dexterity or sort them by color to help with cognitive issues," says Ms. Wessel. Adult daycare patients use vial caps to cre- ate art by gluing the different colors and shapes to a 4 2 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 Jared Bilski | Managing Editor A Group Effort to Go Green The entire team at the Ambulatory Surgical Center at St. Cloud VA Health Care System is committed to reducing the facility's environmental footprint. ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP THAT'S A WRAP Brenda Schoenberg, RN (left), and Jody Wessel, LPN, CST, CRMST, package the leftover blue wrap for instrument trays and basin sets before it's shipped off to be recycled. The Ambulatory Surgical Center at St. Cloud (Minn.) VA Health Care System.

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