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Members of the surgical team at NMCCL assist students from Coastal Carolina Community College's Surgical Technology Program during their clinical training portion of curriculum. The college faculty recently recognized NMCCL's operating room staff for their continuous educational support.

CAMP LEJEUNE , N.C.

Coastal Carolina Community College faculty recently recognized Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune’s operating room staff for their continuous educational support of the school’s Surgical Technology Program. A letter of appreciation sent from the CCCC Surgical Technology Instructor highlights the dedication and commitment of the surgical staff at NMCCL.

“We are honored to have a legacy of over a 20-year partnership with the operating room at Navy Medical Center,” writes Intisar Al-Hayek. “Even during these unprecedented times, the dedicated surgical technologists and registered nurses have continued to provide outstanding clinical instruction for the Coastal Carolina students.”

The Surgical Technology Program’s goal is for participants to receive eventual national certification to work in any state as a surgical technologist. Part of completing the program is clinic training rotation in medical facilities like NMCCL. Each semester NMCCL sees approximately three or four students typically two to three days a week for their hands-on, clinical training.

NMCCL staff considers the partnership a win-win. U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Carlton Bennett, Department Head of the Operating Room, states the partnership is beneficial to his staff members.

“This partnership gives our staff the opportunity to learn and develop preceptoring skills,” says Bennett. He explains that preceptoring skills are necessary in identifying the best approach to teaching and developing proficiency of skills to current employees.

“Our staff members tend to be a mix of new and experienced members and preceptoring skills are necessary in this field where there are continuous competency sets that need to be acquired,” explains Bennett.

Surgical technologists play an important role in the surgical team. Technicians work with surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and other members during surgery, and their role is crucial to ensuring an organized and sterile work environment.

Bennett believes what makes the clinical partnership between NMCCL and CCCC unique is the diverse exposure to the different departments, procedures performed, and the skill level of the staff at NMCCL.

“I do have the benefit of having some extremely talented surgical techs that are available to teach them,” states Bennett. “Our staff range anywhere from recently graduated up to 15 plus years [experience], so they get a wide range of exposure to surgical techs with a wealth of knowledge.”

Clinical curriculum for the students is predetermined by the program’s instructors and are based on which skills the students need to develop. The students are then assigned to different areas of the operating room based on those needs. One of the key elements in the successful partnership is the open communication with the staff and instructors.

“What is extremely helpful is the surgical technologists and registered nurses at Naval Medical Center let me know what skills they observe the students need extra practice on,” says Al Hayek.

The staff at NMCCL are dedicated to ensuring the students receive the full experience of what it is like to be a surgical technician working in the field. The General Surgery staff Bennett represents is excited about the future of the partnership.

“As the department head, I engage the students in the operating room, just like anybody else, so they get exposure to the entire chain of leadership in the OR,” states Bennett. “We are really proud to be in this partnership with Coastal Community College, and we are glad they are happy about the kind of training they get here.”

According to Al-Hayek, the current Surgical Technology Program at CCCC has a 100% pass rate of students taking national certification. In the future, CCCC will offer an Associate Degree Program for Surgical Technologists. Following completion of clinical training and graduation, students will seek employment in the surgical field or can continue their education in other related career opportunities such as materials management positions and surgery scheduler.

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