Navy Operating Room Nurses, Techs Learn Surgical Skills
The whirr of a drill and low rumble of instruction seeped from classrooms at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune (NMCCL) August 8, 2019, as Operating Room (OR) Technicians and Nurses were taught how to use some of the tools they commonly only prepare and deliver to surgeons.
During the training, the technicians and nurses were taught how to properly correct complex orthopedic injuries such as fractures with surgical implants like plates and screws.
“They are getting hands-on experience to understand what we’re [orthopedic surgeons] doing,” said CDR Samantha Grillo, Director of Surgical Services. “And it is not just to understand the equipment, but also our processes.”
Led by orthopedic surgeons such as Grillo, LCDR Louis Lewandowski and LT Kyle Nappo, the day included lectures and hands-on time allowing the OR team to drill holes in synthetic bone and then place stabilizing plates, screws and intramedullary nails, or orthopedic-specific nails.
Technicians and nurses may not be the ones pulling the trigger on the drills or placing the screws during an injury repair, but understanding what the surgeons’ methods are is important to ensure the OR staff is working as a cohesive team, increasing efficiency and decreasing overall operative time for patients.
“We want to be able to check each other,” said LT Corey Beggs, OR Nurse. “All of the little things within a case can add up to helping the patient. It can be anyone from the tech to the surgeon that can help solve a problem with in the OR.”
Every injury is different and there are multiple ways of correcting complex fractures, explained Beggs, so receiving the hands-on training with the tools and techniques used at the Medical Center can help nurses like himself and others within the OR department to run each procedure room efficiently.
Although the Medical Center’s Level III Trauma Center status increases the frequency these kinds of orthopedic injuries are seen, they are still not as common as the other surgical cases, both orthopedic and otherwise, seen in the NMCCL operating rooms.
“This is very beneficial,” said Beggs. “These injuries are not seen every day and Orthopedics is one of the more complicated services we have here. It is good to stay fresh and keep your mind thinking about what you could be doing to help these kinds of patients when they do come to the OR.”
The OR nurses earned six hours of medical education credit, while the techs also earned certificates for the skills learned during the morning of instruction.