Learning is easier when you can get hands-on experience or you can see what you’re learning about, and that’s just what Surgical Technology students at Great Plains Technology Center got at Comanche County Memorial Hospital recently.

Students got to learn how the robot at CCMH works, how to properly drape it before surgery and how to set it up. Chelsea Blackshere, the clinical coordinator and instructor for the surgical program at Great Plains Technology Center, said this allows them to see it before they go through clinicals.

“It’s important because when they go to clinicals, they don’t know what anything looks like, so rather than blindsiding them by these things, they’re able to get an idea of how these things work, what they need to do, and what’s expected of them,” Blackshere said.

“So it just kinda gives them a way to feel less intimidated coming into our facility and getting to touch on it and stuff like that,” said Nicole Porter, the robotics coordinator at CCMH.

She said robot is another type of minimally invasive surgery that CCMH offers. Porter said similar to laparoscopic surgery because it enters the abdomen through small sites. It’s different than laparoscopic because it has wrist motion.

“So with laparoscopic procedures, the instruments they use inside the abdomen are kinda like sticks,” Porter said. “They’re just kinda poking each other, but the robotic instrument has wrist motion. It makes it better for the surgeon to be able to do more meticulous parts of the surgery they wouldn’t be able to get in any other way.”

Dr. Michael Sawyer, a general and robotics surgeon at CCMH, said what these students are getting to learn is invaluable.

“It’s like hitting the ground running,” Dr. Sawyer said. “So, they come in, they already have some experience with handling the instruments, how they work, when they’re needed in the operation and so forth, and so I think that’s tremendous training.”

Porter said letting the students come and see the robotics program has helped them with recruitment.

“Most of us that work here came from this program, so we’ve all been through it,” Porter said. “We’ve all learned the same way, learned the same steps, so we kinda know what benefits the students specifically.”

Not only does a hands on lesson like this help them learn, but Blackshere said it also helps their job resume.

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