I’ve written on healthcare topics for nearly 20 years: Medical devices, pharmaceuticals, healthcare supply chain, sterile processing of surgical instruments, medical equipment maintenance, quality management, healthcare data, unique device identification (UDI), cybersecurity, group purchasing organizations (GPOs), distributors, etc. etc., etc.
And during these two decades I’ve seen and learned a lot. I can remember being in my early 20s down in Florida to arrange a video shoot with a prominent anesthesiologist. I showed up in his department wearing my suit and carrying my briefcase bag when he asked me to follow him. He took me behind the scenes where I saw a patient unconscious/asleep on a table in a hallway and thought to myself “I don’t think I should be in here.” Later that night after the video shoot this doctor and I ate Chinese food together in a somewhat seedy strip mall restaurant. (Thank god for tightened regulations around patient safety and privacy!).
In more recent years I went to tour a sterile processing department in a Massachusetts hospital. Wearing a nice business dress, again with briefcase bag in hand, I showed up in the department. The director of CS/SPD looked and laughed, handing me a protective jumpsuit to wear over my clothes and a cap for my abundance of hair. He failed to mention when we arranged the interview that it was best that I dressed casual – this made sense as we entered a decontamination area containing carts full of bloody, tissue laden surgical instruments.
My experience as a healthcare writer has given me a tremendous respect for those who work in the industry – not only physicians and nurses, but sterile processing technicians, supply chain teams and others who each play a critical role in patient care.
So as I face open heart surgery next week, I go into it with more knowledge than the average patient. Honestly I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. It has left me with questions such as:
And I’m sure a few more questions will pop into my head while I’m heading into the OR.
Even with all of these questions swirling around my head I have faith that those providers and others around me will do their best to ensure I leave that hospital better than I came in.
I’m in the process of assembling a gift basket for my clinical care team to express my appreciation (see photo). I figured with the physical and emotional demands of their jobs, they could use a laugh. I need some other non-nurse related items – think I can find something funny for my respiratory therapist?