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Delaware Tech Unveils New Surgical Tech Lab

DOVER - For nearly a year and a half, the Delaware Tech Terry Campus had been buzzing about a real-world surgical technology lab on campus, replete with all of the equipment and instruments students in the new Surgical Technology Program would use once they started their clinical training in a hospital. Ongoing construction, along with deliveries of the surgical light and surgical carts, only heightened the anticipation.

On Friday, Jan. 20, the long-awaited surgical tech lab was unveiled for the first time to proud faculty and staff members, who gathered in the scrub room for a mock-surgical experience. The actors first scrubbed up, then gowned, which are the first skills students must master when starting surgical technology training, explained Tina Gary, the surgical tech instructor, who was on-hand to assist the “surgeon” in removing a “gall bladder.” Participants indicated their relief that the only thing missing from the mock surgery was blood!

Also attending was Chris Hainsworth, the Allied Health department chair and Paramedic Program coordinator, who was given the task to create the surgical lab as part of this new program at the Terry Campus. Previously, Hainsworth worked as a transplant coordinator and as a paramedic.
“Seventy-two students are busy taking their prerequisites this semester, and then 12 students will be selected from the group in May to continue in the program for the summer semester,” Hainsworth said. “This is the only program of its kind in the state, so our graduates will be in high demand by hospitals and outpatient surgical centers throughout the region.”

The surgical technology lab is a fully-equipped classroom where students will learn, in a safe environment, the skills they’ll need to pass their clinicals. An interactive projector turns a white wall into a whiteboard where video of surgical procedures can be played. Students can critique their own performance as well as each other as they watch the procedures. The lab also includes an audio/visual system with a laptop, cameras, and microphones, which make the classroom accessible to students anywhere they can access an Internet connection.

Funding for the lab was obtained through Federal Stimulus monies, and supply donations have been received from Christiana Care Health System. In addition to Christiana Care, individuals from Bayhealth Medical Center, Beebe Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital, and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital also serve on the lab’s advisory board and will receive their own demonstration at the lab in March.

Hainsworth observed, “This type of work tends to create a very cohesive group. Students who learn together and work together become a strong unit.” Students who will not begin the program this summer will have the option of being placed on a waiting list for subsequent course offerings.

PHOTO CAPTION: Chris Hainsworth, the Allied Health department chair and Paramedic Program coordinator, helps Surgical Technology Instructor Tina Gary don her surgical gown as faculty and staff members of Delaware Tech’s Terry Campus look on, at the new Surgical Technology Lab’s unveiling Jan. 20. (Photo: Prudy Pierson)