Teleconference requires upfront planning

While you and your same-day surgery staff members may speak at high school career days or offer some tours of the operating room, it’s not likely that you’ll invite 140 high school students in to your operating room to view a procedure. Unless, like Kent Hospital in Warwick, RI, you use technology and educational material distributed prior to the procedure, to attract the interest and participation of the students.

By using the Internet, the same-day surgery staff was able to broadcast a rotator cuff surgery to 140 high schools students and their teachers at seven school sites. Kent Hospital was approached by the state hospital association when one of the association’s staff member’s husband was scheduled for the surgery. Once the patient and the surgeon agreed to the broadcast, the staff at Kent got busy planning, says Linda Sebastian, RN, BSN, CNOR, director of perioperative services for Kent Hospital.

The hospital’s information services department oversaw the technical aspects of the live two-way broadcast over the Internet, says Sebastian. "An orthopedics nurse prepared information packets for the students and their teachers that included a description of all the roles of each operating room team member, information on the procedure, and a description of patient safety issues, such as wrong site surgery, the operating room staff members have to consider when preparing the patient," she says.

A pre-surgery video showed the patient discussing how his shoulder pain interfered with his work and daily life, and demonstrated his limited range of motion. The video also included the surgeon describing the procedure and a nurse explaining what the students would see during the broadcast, adds Sebastian.

The actual broadcast showed all aspects of the procedure, including prep and intubation, says Sebastian. A nurse and the surgeon answered questions during the procedure, she says. "The questions from the students were well-presented, and it was obvious they were very interested and had reviewed the material we provided prior to the broadcast," she says. Even with the questions, the procedure went smoothly and did not last longer than a normal rotator cuff surgery, she adds.

Six weeks after surgery, another video of the patient showed his range of motion following the procedure, says Sebastian. Questions that came in after the broadcast also were answered, and the videotape was distributed to all of the schools that participated, she adds. The response was positive, and the students definitely are more aware of opportunities in health care and perioperative services than they were before, she adds. In fact, several students who participated in the program told media representatives that the experience reinforced their intention to pursue a career in medicine or science, says Sebastian.