By Hospitalman Dominique Chesley
I’m a native of Wichita Falls, Texas and currently lead GYN surgical technologist in the main operating room (MOR) at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB).
After graduating from Hirschi High School in 2012, I wanted to get out of the small town I lived in and interested in Navy Medicine’s behavioral health tech program. In the beginning of being in the Navy it seemed like I couldn’t get away from Texas. I grew up in Texas, enlisted in Texas, and after boot camp received orders to San Antonio, Texas for a year of school.
I really liked my first few weeks of clinical rotation while in San Antonio. It was exciting to scrub into ortho trauma surgery. I was mesmerized by the different stories behind the people I worked on, and the events that led up to them going into surgery. The surgeries were pretty lengthy, but it was definitely amazing. I think it’s tied with the two weeks I got to spend scrubbing into pediatric open heart surgery. It was beautiful, seeing the heart so new, pure, and open, and sad at the same time because we were working on young children.
The best part about my Navy Medicine career is that I love being a surgical tech. The behavioral health program was full when I came in. No disrespect, but I’m glad my career led me to my current occupation. I love that I ‘m involved while physical changes are made to a patient and their quality of life is made better. It’s a wonderful feeling, and I don’t think I would have been as happy if I were working in another field.
Regarding the surgeon general’s priorities of Readiness, Value and Jointness, I’m committed to helping provide agile, adaptable capabilities to support the on-going mission and operation(s) of my command.
Readiness: I reorganized our storage area to create an obstetrics section in case a Code Purple (OB emergency) goes south. It includes three sets of instruments and a small kit of consumables that can be pulled in case of an emergent hysterectomy or dilation and curettage, or dilation and evacuation. I also trained the 40B and MOR staff how to properly use these sets and consumables.
I’m actively engaged training new operating room staff members, specifically gynecology surgeries. Sometimes I branch out into the other services, such as orthopedic and general surgery, and the sterile processing department. I’ve revamped our emergent carts. We have two – one for gynecology surgery and one for general surgery. Now they’re organized and always ready for use.
I’m also the MOR safety champion, which includes keeping everyone up-to-date on their safety training, and making sure staff member knows what to do in case of an emergency. I also do a monthly walk through of our spaces to make sure they are within standards. As the TeamSTEPPS trainer, which is an evidence based program, I help others with strategies and tools to enhance performance and patient safety.
I adhere to the priority of Value by ensuring that the highest quality health care is given to those in need while carrying out my duties.
At Naval Hospital Bremerton we are committed to implementing the most up-to-date and best possible instruments, consumables, and processes for our patients. I’ve personally put together a performance improvement plan. I moved a couple of sets, and put together a couple of “in case of a Code Purple” packs, so that a circulating nurse, who might not be used to the OR spaces, can find it quickly.
The SG’s notion of Jointness, isn’t just about working with the other services. It’s also applicable in a small-hospital setting like NHB. I work with others to pursue effective ways of carrying out the overall mission of providing for Sailors and Marines and their families.
As a surgical tech, I often work in the sterile processing department cranking out not only main OR gear, but also everyone else’s, such as Family Practice, OB/GYN, and General Surgery. In the Main OR we don’t always work on our own patients. Sometimes we get patients from the ships.
To sum up my experience with Navy Medicine in one sentence…I only need one word: Unforgettable.
I’m Hospitalman Dominique Chesley. I am Navy Medicine.