~ Press release issued by Laurel Ridge Community College
Laurel Ridge Community College Surgical Technology students participated in several mock laparoscopic surgeries, including appendectomies, hysterectomies and cholecystectomies (gallbladder removal) as part of the demonstration of the LAPSIM® surgical simulator at the Fauquier Campus on Friday.
Surgical Technology instructor Lisa Day organized for two simulators to be brought to campus by a representative of the LAPSIM®’s supplier, Surgical Science. A colleague from a college in Tennessee brought a third simulator, a portable one, for students to also use.
With the simulators providing a laparoscopic view of human anatomy, students used various instruments to perform several different procedures, receiving instant feedback on their performances.
“No community college in Virginia has this simulator,” Day said. “It’s state-of-the-art technology which teaches the students the techniques and principles of minimally-invasive surgery.”
Surgical technologists help prepare the operating room and surgical instruments prior to surgery; ensure the operating room remains sterile, pass instruments to the surgeon and first assistant and provide other assistance during the operation; and following the procedure, may apply dressings to the patient and count the instruments used.
“We are an integral part of the surgical team,” Day explained.
Understanding all aspects of the operating room is essential for a surgical technologist to be successful, said Dr. Craig Santicola, dean of the School of Professional Programs at Laurel Ridge.
“This simulator provides a realistic laparoscopic environment and allows students to train safely and gain confidence before heading into the operating room,” he said. “Having a simulator like this would be a tremendous benefit to our students, as its use has been shown to improve overall student learning and psychomotor skills. I know the students benefited from the time training with it, and we look forward to possibly purchasing one in the future.”
First-year and second-year students from both the Middletown and Fauquier campuses were able to practice on the simulators, which cost about $170,000 each.
“I think it is so much fun to actually have something that simulates what it really looks like in surgery,” said first-year student Haley Farmer, a 2022 Clarke County High School graduate. “I love Laurel Ridge’s Surgical Technology program. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Annie Logan, a second-year student at the Fauquier Campus, said she applied for a job as a surgical technologist not realizing a degree was required. That’s how she ended up at Laurel Ridge.
“When I found this place, I knew I had to do it,” Logan said. “The next step for me is training to become a first assistant. I would love to go to medical school. This simulator is really, really helpful. I want one for our program.”
The simulators remained at the college on Saturday for an annual meeting and workshop for more than 100 members of the Virginia Commonwealth State Assembly of the Association of Surgical Technologists. Day is the state assembly’s secretary and past-president. She also serves as chair of the State Assembly Leadership Committee at the national level.
The median salary for surgical technologists in the region is $26 an hour.
Learn more about the Surgical Technology program at laurelridge.edu/surgtech.
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