Five Questions for: Deborah Girvin

FoodService Director - Five Questions for: Deborah Girvin - Good Samaritan HospitalWhen 565-bed Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, was tasked to create a physician-friendly environment, Deborah Girvin, director of nutrition services, developed a new physicians’ lounge complete with 24-hour access to food, televisions, computers and a concierge. Girvin talks with FSD about creating the lounge and how the physicians have responded. 

Why did you feel that you needed to remake your physicians’ lounge?

The hospital did a strategic plan in which they wanted to earn the physicians’ business—not just get the business but also earn it. We wanted the physicians to want to come to Good Samaritan Hospital more than any other hospital. They asked each director to come up with a plan of what we would do in our department to earn the physicians’ business.

I’m in nutrition services, and it’s not like we have surgical suites to attract them. We had a physicians’ lounge that was very basic. It had a grab-and-go cooler where you could get various salads and snacks. It had two computers and a small television. Basically it was just more like a break room. We came up with the idea to make it an escape from the hospital and make it an actual lounge so that you went in there and you felt like you were on a break and not just in another room in the hospital.

What are some of the features in the new lounge?

Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. we have a cook on duty and she will make whatever they want with the ingredients that she has. We have a menu with suggested items because it’s hard to think up something from a list of ingredients. She’ll make whatever they want to order. She also has a buffet area where she has an entrée, side and a vegetable that is similar to what we are serving in the café that day. If they want that they can serve themselves and eat immediately. Otherwise, they go to the salad bar and get some salad while the cook makes their food. They can also carry out. They can also call down and have food ready at a specific time because some of the physicians are in a hurry. We have vegetarian items because we have a lot of vegetarians. The cook has a combi oven, flat top grill, induction cooker, groove grill and panini grill. They’ve told the cook that she makes things better than their wives because she makes things exactly how they want it.

We have a grab-and-go cooler and it’s open 24 hours a day. We have snacks, entrée salads, wraps and sandwiches. We also have coffee and other drinks.

The lounge isn’t just about the foods. What are some of the other features of the new lounge?

We have a large room that’s like a living room with couches, recliners and a big flat-screen TV. We have a physicians’ liaison in there and she is almost like a concierge. She does whatever they need. If they break their eyeglasses, she sends them out to a place to have them replaced and shipped back to the hospital. She handles any complaints. She is the physicians’ trainer for our electronic medical records system. She works for the medical staff office. There are nine computers in there and they are diagnostic quality. In that living room they also have a small monitor with information that the physicians need, things like a new monitor in medical records that had been requested or a retirement tea. We also have lockers in there. They aren’t ugly metal lockers. They look like a regular cabinets.

What was the most challenging part of the project?

The most challenging part was trying to get more space from neighboring departments. I wanted to take on the department next door, which was the medical staff office. I had only had a tiny break room before this. Negotiating with everybody to move space with challenging.

How have the physicians responded to the new lounge?

It has been very popular. They love it in there. It is card access so only the physicians are allowed in there. Everything is free of charge. Our Press Ganey scores for physician satisfaction went from 33% to 97%.