Outpatient Surgery Magazine - Subscribers

Year of the Nurse - November 2020 - Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

Issue link: http://outpatientsurgery.uberflip.com/i/1306204

Contents of this Issue


Page 28 of 83

N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y . N E T • 2 9 L ynn Watts, RN, CAIP, of the Delaware Surgery Center in Dover, began studying to become a certified ambulatory infection preventionist early in 2018, just a little more than a year after her 22-year-old son was killed when the jeep he was riding in failed to navigate a sharp curve in the road. James Watts had just graduated with a degree in criminal justice from York College in Pennsylvania. He had become a cadet with the Dover Police Department, with designs on becoming a patrolman on the force, at the time of his death. Another Dover officer, the driver of the vehicle, was killed in the off-duty accident as well. "It's a horrible thing to live with," says Ms. Watts. She was the driving force behind Delaware Surgery Center's COVID-19 response and champi- oned the aggressive new practices and procedures every step of the way, according to Thomas Barnett, MD, who founded the surgery center in 2002. "Lynn suffered a horrible loss, obviously, and she still gets tearful," says Dr. Barnett. "I think train-ing to be our infection preventionist definitely helped her to concentrate on something else." Ms. Watts has been with the surgery center since its inception, starting as a nurse in the PACU. She began working on the center's infection prevention efforts in 2004. When the coronavirus hit, Ms. Watts took her work to the next level, says Dr. Barnett. Her initial work included insisting every patient at the beginning of the outbreak be tested even though there was no requirement to do so. She also educat- ed the staff on the magnitude of the dangers of per- forming surgery on anyone who had the virus. "She dove into every nook and cranny of what we could do to keep our facility safe during the pan- demic," says Dr. Barnett. "She knows every federal and state regulation, reads every article available on the topic, and her recommendations are always backed up with statistics and reports from the CDC and other sources." Ms. Watts wears many hats at her center — she's also the facility's quality assurance coordina- tor, emergency disaster planner and OSHA coordi- nator — but those roles have taken a back seat since March. Along with the center's Director Jennifer Anderson, Ms. Watts authored an 11-page pandemic policy to meet all new infection control standards, created a respiratory protection program that included mask guidelines for employees, a mask reprocessing policy for their extended reuse and crafted a COVID consent form as a risk manage- ment tool to protect the facility from litigation after elective surgeries. Being swamped with infection prevention responsibilities has provided a continuing distrac- tion from the loss of her son. "It's been a welcome diversion," says Ms. Watts. She's grateful that major projects at her center are always team efforts, and that the facility's lead- ership has always been very supportive of her, from creating a scholarship in James' name to encourag- ing her to obtain the Certified Ambulatory Infection Preventionist (CAIP) certification. "Training for and receiving the certification was very therapeutic," says Ms. Watts. "Helping to get the COVID programs started here to keep our patients safe gave me a great deal of personal satis- faction." — Adam Taylor Helping Others to Help Herself Heal HELP IN HEALING Lynn Watts has implemented pandemic response protocols to protect patients and staff from exposure to COVID-19. Delaware Surgery Center

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Outpatient Surgery Magazine - Subscribers - Year of the Nurse - November 2020 - Outpatient Surgery Magazine