As I went to interview some employees for this next spotlight I got to see the behind the scenes action of our Lakewood Surgery Center: beds being moved down hallways, surgical instruments being moved to cleaning areas, oxygen tanks steered through back doors, and the buzz of employees communicating with each other. It seemed a little hectic at first, but it is this bustling that allows a two operating room (OR) surgery center to accommodate some 3000 surgeries every year.
There are over 30 people who work together as part of the surgery center team with many different roles. Behind the scenes a central supply technician works to clean, prepare, and verify sterilization of all the instrumentation needed for a procedure. Also, a materials manager keeps tracks of supplies and equipment used and potentially needed for upcoming surgeries.
A charge nurse RN coordinates the day-to-day schedule of the staff and assists in an all departments. Pre-op nurses call the patient to conduct a preoperative assessment and provide critical instructions prior to the day of surgery. A CNA/registered nursing team admits the patient to the pre-op area and gets the patient ready for their procedure.
They then hand off the care to the OR circulating nurse who is in charge of preparing the operating room to the specificities of the case and advocates for the patient during the entire intraoperative process. In the operating suite certified surgical technicians scrub in to assist the doctor by passing instruments and managing the surgical field.
After surgery, PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit) nurses skillfully recover the patients from anesthesia and tend to their needs to make sure the transition to home is as easy as possible. And even still, the process is not complete. Electronic medical charts have to be updated, surgical reports are written, supplies are restocked, rooms are cleaned, instruments are reprocessed, and the next day is prepared for. This does not even scratch the surface of the job duties they have.
Our surgery center team really deserves a round of applause as they do an amazing job being efficient and giving the best care. When I asked the staff what are the most rewarding parts of their job the consensus across all their job duties was the satisfaction in care given to patients – knowing that they are taking the steps to recovery and are on the back nine as their injury is healing.
The challenges are dispersed as it can be difficult to prepare similar surgeries for different doctor preferences or perform tasks that do not fall under their typical duties. Their Director, Jennifer Riportella, compliments their strengths of teamwork and ownership. “They own their responsibilities and work towards the common goals of the surgery center, all while providing the best patient-centered care.”
Our staff in Suite 102 is filled with diversity from new faces fresh from school to seasoned vets. They enjoy all different walks of life from hiking outdoors to video games and yoga to supporting Seattle sport teams. As they prepare for summer weather and see the sun teasing them through the windows of the operating room, be sure to thank them as they spend countless nights working overtime making sure every patient leaves feeling their best and every surgical instrument is cleaned and neatly put away. They power through an average of 15 surgeries every day and are up at the crack of dawn the following day ready to repeat.
Thank you to the outstanding team we have in our surgery center and all the wonderful care they give every day.