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St. Luke’s Health Memorial Lufkin Surgical Techs Represent Hospital, State

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A St. Luke’s Health Memorial Lufkin surgical technologist will spend the next two years representing her profession and her state after being elected to the Association of Surgical Technologists Board of Directors for the Texas State Assembly.

Stefanie Vaughn, certified surgical technologist for the past 15 years, and service line team leader for orthopedics, neurology and podiatry, was elected by a large collection of her peers during the Texas State Assembly held in March.

As one of only 9 board members from across the state, Stefanie will help organize continuing education opportunities to advance the knowledge and skills base of practicing surgical technologists and surgical assistants through local state based workshops. She will also represent the state of Texas during the national conference at the end of May and provide lobbying support for fellow professionals.

Surgical technologists serve as an integral part of the surgical team by preparing the operating room, including the sterile field, and setting up surgical equipment, supplies and solutions. During surgery, surgical technologists pass instruments, fluids and supplies to the surgeon and prepare and manage surgical equipment.

“We have to know the instruments and what they’re used for. We have to anticipate the surgeon’s needs so we need to understand the surgery, as well,” Vaughn said. “We need to know each step of the surgical process so we can immediately have what the surgeon needs. We don’t want there to be any delay. We are involved in saving lives, and it’s a wonderful job.”

After the procedure, the surgical technologist is responsible for performing a count of sponges and supplies to prevent anything being left behind.

System Manager for Sterile Processing Cheryl Green, CRCST, was one of the select keynote speakers during the AST Texas State Assembly in March and addressed the importance of sterile processing in the OR.

“We are the heart and soul of surgery because without us surgery doesn’t work,” Green said. “We are the first step in prevention of any surgical site infections or diseases.”

Both Vaughn and Green plan to use their experience from the state conference to help raise awareness about the important role surgical technologists play in the operating room.

“It’s never the same thing every day; you learn something new every day,” Vaughn said. “The biggest thing that I love about my job is knowing that I have helped someone in a significant way, and helping make them better so they can get back to a more normal life. I am thrilled to serve in this new role and help others like myself learn more about this incredible profession.”

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