Ideas That Work: ‘Thankful Thursdays’ Offer a Variety of Appreciative Activities

Sept23 bend 3

Bend Surgery Center's mission has always been to show appreciation to its staff. For more than 25 years, the ASC has been celebrating "Thankful Thursdays" - a monthly series of unique weekly celebratory events. Check out this recent article by Outpatient Surgery Magazine, a division of AORN, to learn more about this inspiring initiative!


By: Outpatient Surgery Editors
Published: 9/12/2023

Practical pearls from your colleagues

Bend (Ore.) Surgery Center has been operating for more than a quarter-century and, for its leaders, showing appreciation to staff has always been baked into the ASC’s mission.

“Historically, we did Staff Appreciation Week — something different every day of the week,” says administrator Todd Currier, CASC, CPA. “As we have grown and more than doubled in staff size, we changed the model three years ago to Thursdays in August.” Each year’s monthly series of unique weekly celebratory events is dubbed “Thankful Thursdays.”

Why Thursdays? “We thought about other weekdays, but ‘Thankful Thursdays’ stuck,” says Mr. Currier, who adds “Marvelous Mondays,” “Terrific Tuesdays,” “Wonderful, Wacky Wednesdays” and “Fabulous Fridays” were considered and may become realities in the future.

This year’s Thankful Thursdays program found the ASC’s nine-person leadership team preparing a BBQ one Thursday, ice cream sundaes on another, and running a Gift and Game Day on a third. When we spoke with Mr. Currier in mid-August, the management team was slated to wrap up the month by providing breakfast for the facility’s 160 team members. This isn’t a matter of dropping boxes of donuts in the breakroom, either.

“To be prepared for our team members’ arrival at 6 a.m., we’ll set up our grilling station out back at about 4 a.m.,” says Mr. Currier. Working two Blackstone flattop grills, the management team will prepare homemade breakfast sandwiches consisting of grilled egg, cheese, and sausage or bacon on homemade English muffins, with assorted fruits and yogurts also available. The leaders will then bring all the food upstairs to the staff lounges.

Mr. Currier says leadership has traditionally cooked BBQ and breakfast for staff each year, often also providing team members gifts bearing the center’s logo. Other past events have included welcome perks like chair massages, but perhaps most memorable for Mr. Currier were the 20 years when management washed all of the employees’ cars — something that occurred annually until staff size grew too large.

That growth in staff corresponds with a growing practice. Last year, the ASC doubled its size to over 40,000 square feet, enabling it to operate eight ORs and six procedure rooms hosting a dozen different surgical specialties.

Mr. Currier says staff truly appreciates the gestures from management as well as the effort they expend to make Thankful Thursdays memorable. “It boosts morale, which in turn helps with overall performance,” he says. “Like most ASCs, our days can be fast-paced and demanding, so knowing that your efforts are appreciated goes a long way.” OSM