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BEHIND THE SCENES IN THE O.R. AT LUTHERAN MEDICAL CENTER IN SUNSET PARK

BY JOYCE SHELBY

This article appeared in the Daily News Brooklyn section on March 17, 2009.

Not everyone huddling around a patient in an operating room is a surgeon. We all know that from watching TV. But who's hidden behind the gowns, masks and surgical gloves?

A team from Lutheran Medical Center in Sunset Park knows exactly who's who, and they visit local schools, showing students the answers.

Through the "O.R. to the Schools" program, the Lutheran staffers hope to educate young people about medical careers.

"Especially in Latino and African-American communities, it's important for our young people to see health-care professionals who look like them and to let them know of goals that are achievable," said Lutheran's Vice President of Surgical Services, Jose Hernandez.

"We love what we do so much," said Hernandez, a registered nurse. "We want to share this with young people in the community."

To make sure sharing doesn't become boring, Hernandez developed a 45-minute, hands-on demonstration that includes dressing for operating room success, creating a sterile environment, handling surgical instruments and performing a mock surgery.

Hernandez, with operating room nurse managers Paula Donaldson and Dianna Norman, did a show-and-tell for juniors and seniors at the High School for Service and Learning at Erasmus Hall in Flatbush.

As the students dressed for surgery and later performed a mock appendectomy, they learned about the roles of the anesthesiologist, the certified nurse anesthetist, the surgical technologist, the registered professional circulating nurse, the physician's assistant, the surgeon, the surgical resident and the medical student.

The students also were told how much training was required for each job and how much each job paid.

"I learned a lot," said Eybar Taymes, 16, who already was planning to go to medical school. Ramatoulaye Barry, also 16, said she still wanted to go to law school. "But it was really good to learn what's needed in the operating room," she said.

The Lutheran team adapts its presentations for students in grades 3 through 12. Call Kathy Johannesen, the hospital's marketing director, at (718) 630-8852 for more information. 

 

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