Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pocket Guide to the Operating Room

This week I interviewed someone who has recently completed a surgical technology program. Much like reps, surgical techs needs to learn procedures inside and out, including the sequence and the instrumentation involved.

Time in the operating room is valuable. Surgeons like things to move along quickly and efficiently, which in the end is better for the patient. Surgical techs are expected to anticipate what the surgeon needs, and reps who can do the same have a great opportunity to build credibility with the surgeons and their OR team.

The rep is there to support the entire OR team. By making sure techs and nurses know exactly what they need and when, the rep can ensure the procedure moves along smoothly, even when new products are being introduced.

Gaining this level of knowledge about a myriad of different surgical procedures is challenging. The average surgical tech program takes 1.5-2 years to complete, including 500 hours of clinicals. Reps need a comparable level of knowledge, which comes through training, experience in the OR and a lot of studying.

Here's a great book this surgical tech suggested to me which sounds like it could be an invaluable resource for reps. It's called:
Pocket Guide to the Operating Room
by Maxine Goldman.

According the the publisher's website, it includes details on more than 500 surgeries, with descriptions, drawings and instrumentation. This tech told me that she would review the guide in preparation for each surgery while she was going through her clinicals and being exposed to new procedures daily.

Noted as a key feature, which is particularly relevant to Linvatec's product line, is the emphasis on: "extensive coverage of minimal access surgery, including endoscopic procedures for multiple specialties, microsurgical techniques, and instrumentation for these procedures."

The guide also indicates what to expect if there are complications and what types of procedure(s) the surgery might evolve into as a result, allowing one to anticipate the instrumentation needed if specific scenarios were to occur.

Much like a good surgical tech, anticipation and preparation are key to a rep's success. A well-prepared rep always has exactly what they need for the case, and more. If a surgeon turns to a rep and asks, "do you have...", the answer had better be "yes".

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