As part of our ongoing series of staff profiles at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, today we once again turn our attention to the operating room, with the spotlight on Ange, our operating room manager and circulating nurse.
Diamonds are precious because they are hard to acquire, rare and beautiful.
The Mona Lisa is valuable because she is a one of a kind masterpiece; many times copied but never equalled.
A Stradivarius violin is prized because it can perform like no other instrument, and if destroyed, it is irreplaceable.
Your grandma’s hand made quilt is cherished because it is full of sentiment, love, emotion and a lifetime’s worth of experiences.
As a society, we attribute value based on these characteristics: scarcity, the difficulty of acquisition, uniqueness, performance, irreplaceability, ability to elicit an emotional response, longevity and sentimentality.
Which brings me to Ange, our long time operating room manager and circulating nurse at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic.
Ange is a diamond, an artistic masterpiece, an irreplaceable finely tuned instrument and a kind, caring, loving security blanket all rolled into one.
Let’s start with scarcity and difficulty of acquisition. Ange was not easy to nab as a full-time employee. Ange and I worked together at the Cambridge Memorial Hospital when I started my career there in January of 2005. Ange and I formed an instant bond; she quickly became one of my favourite nurses to work with.
When I bought the Cosmetic Surgery Clinic from Dr. Peter Wyshynski back in 2007, I needed good people to work within my newly acquired operating room. Ange would occasionally pop into the operating room at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic to help out for a day here and there. It did not take me long to see the skill, dedication and talent she brought with her each and every time she worked with us. And so began the difficult task of convincing Ange to leave the security of her hospital job to join us full time at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. At the time, we were only operating about one or two days a week, and there wasn’t even a full-time job for her to take. But I knew where we were headed as a clinic, and I knew I needed Ange to be a central part of the plan.
With sufficient discussion, begging, cajoling and negotiating, Ange finally joined us more frequently in 2009, and finally, mercifully, she joined us full time in 2016.
And we have never looked back!
How about uniqueness and scarcity? How rare is someone like Ange? To answer that question, it must be understood that there is only a handful of free-standing, out of the hospital, full-service cosmetic surgery clinics across Canada. There are even fewer of those clinics that hold Independent health facility licences from the Ontario Ministry of Health, the way we do at The Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. There are even fewer that have multiple surgeons working in the facility, and there are even fewer who run their operating rooms four days a week the way we do. If there are a dozen nurses across Canada who do what Ange does on a day to day basis, I would be surprised.
Let’s focus on performance. Ange is responsible for the safe functioning of the operating room. That is an enormous responsibility. Her job involves ordering supplies, from gloves to drapes to surgical instruments to bandaids. Ange makes sure the surgical equipment is safely functioning, which includes organizing and overseeing the required maintenance schedule. Ange is our Certified Medical Device Reprocessing technician certified by the Medical Device Reprocessing Association of Ontario. That is a certification she had to acquire only after leaving the hospital to join us at TCSC. That means in addition to all her new-found responsibilities, she had to go back to school. Would it surprise you if I told you that she scored a 98% in the course?
Ange also makes sure Dr. Nicholas, our anesthesiologist, has all the drugs and equipment he needs to take care of our patients safely. Ange also ensures safe staffing and training of the recovery room nurses and oversees their work, their charting and the care they give our patients after surgery. Ange is also one of our pre and post-op clinical photographers. Ange communicates with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario when needed. Ange maintains our surgical logbook and is in charge of our regular quality reviews.
If I Include part-time and full-time work, I’ve now worked side-by-side with Ange for 15 years. In all that time, I have never known Ange to make a single mistake in any part of any one of her many responsibilities. Not one. Not ever.
So far we’ve covered scarcity, the difficulty of acquisition, uniqueness, and performance. What about the sentimentality? The emotion?
The day to day technical requirements of Ange’s job are all-encompassing and overwhelming, and I wouldn’t be able to operate if she didn’t do those jobs. But those parts of her job are not the reasons why our patients are always telling me how much they love her. Our patients love Ange because when they come to the clinic on the morning of their surgery, and they are hungry, nervous, and maybe even having second thoughts, Ange puts them at ease with a smile and a joke. Our patients love Ange because she holds everyone’s hand as they drift off to sleep in the operating room. Our patients love Ange because as they drift off to sleep, she puts the most beautiful, warm, happy images in their brains for them to dream about while they have their surgery.
Last but not least, is Ange irreplaceable? While I believe that to be true, I feel even more strongly that I never want to find out!