Nurses Critical to Success of Comer’s Fresh Start Surgery Weekend

On Saturday, Feb. 28, the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital again joined forces with the Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation to offer free reconstructive surgeries to Chicago-area kids impacted by congenital deformities.

More than 30 nurses participated in the third such weekend event, along with dozens of surgeons, anesthesiologists and other volunteers.

Nursing involvement ranged from clinic nurses, APNs, scrub nurses, circulating nurses, charge nurses, pre- and post-op nurses, CRNA’s, floor nurses, patient logistic nurses, and nurses involved in periop administration, said Susan Ourada, Program Director, Operating Room & Procedure Areas.

Procedures included a scalp scar revision, syndactyly correction of an ankle and wrist due to amniotic band syndrome, and the third phase in the innovative removal of a large mole called a congenital melanocytic nevus.

In the plastic surgery clinic there was a team of clinic nurses, including Lisa Skiba, BSN, RN, and Deborah Davy, RN, supporting patients prior to surgery and assisting with pre-operative care and testing.  One of the hospital’s APNs, Liz Hood, MS, MBA, RN, APN/CPNP, has volunteered to run every single one of the Pre-Op clinics prior to the surgery event, said Ourada.

On the administrative side, Beth Nardi, RN, Pam Jones, MSN, RN, and Murray Fields, MSN, RN, have donated considerable time and energy to ensuring that staffing is complete and comprehensive and the patient experience exceeds expectations.

“We simply could not make this program happen without support from our nurses.  Every aspect of the process and every phase of care require that a nurse be included,” said Ourada.  “Up to this point we’ve been blessed by an outpouring of support that I hope will continue throughout the duration of our affiliation with the program.  I think that our nurses are doing this because they believe in Fresh Start but also because they love what they do – and I see examples of this during each Fresh Start event.”

For instance, Ourada said that one of our Fresh Start patients,  an infant, was a ward of the state and had no parent accompanying them.

“After surgery the caseworker slipped away for a time, and I watched as one of the PACU nurses, Manelita Dayon, BSN, RN, held, rocked and comforted the baby for over an hour with Cynthia Evans, BSN, RN, sitting beside her,” Ourada said. “It was very moving and really reinforced (to me) that these nurses are fully present for our patients not just during these events, but every day throughout every area of the Medical Center.  I can’t say enough about how much their contributions mean to the program.”

The surgery team was lead by Russell Reid, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery and Bernard Sarnat Scholar of Craniofacial Research; David Song, MD, Cynthia Chow professor of surgery and section chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery; Lawrence Zachary, MD, professor of surgery; Julie Park, MD, assistant professor of surgery; and Sara Dickie, MD, clinical instructor
plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation spokesman Jermaine Dye, Chicago White Sox 2005 World Series MVP, was again on hand to offer support to the young patients.

San Diego-based Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation expanded to Chicago with its first surgery weekend at Comer Children’s Hospital in June 2014. As the exclusive Chicago partner, Comer plans to host three surgery events each year serving as many as 20 patients and providing $415,500 in donated medical care.

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