Twin sisters AnastasiaPrech, CST, BSN, RN, CNOR, and Sara Prech, ST, BSN, RN, CNOR, both work in the Mather OR at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Their individual careers began as surgical techs. Here they explain how they came to become nurses and what they’ve learned along the way.
My career in the operating room began in 2009, when I entered a surgical technology program. This provided the basis for my interest in the operating room, and has proven to be the foundation of my entire career. Learning the fundamentals of the scrub role instilled in me a strong surgical conscience and a desire for absolute excellence in patient care. It was on my first day in clinicals in the operating room, I decided I would continue my education to become a Registered Nurse so that I could circulate as well. First, however, I had to finish my surgical technology program! Upon completing it, I successfully passed my certification exam and become a Certified Surgical Technologist, a title I still value and maintain to this day.
The next step in my journey was nursing school. Although it was difficult and challenging part of my life, my nursing education prepared me to do great things. As I gained confidence in my competence as an RN and in the circulating role, I decided to keep moving forward with my education. I completed my BSN in 2016. The strong foundations of the OR which I gained through school and work as a surgical technologist helped me to understand my role as an operating room nurse even better. Nursing school expanded knowledge I already had, but also increased my understanding of writing and research, and reinforced the importance of evidence-based practice.
As my journey continued, common themes in my practice emerged, namely the desire for quality improvement, working collaboratively to solve problems, and speaking up. As a result, I have sought out many opportunities for quality improvement including surgical service leadership, collaborating with the hospital informatics department, as well as training and projects involving Lean/5S. Moreover, obtaining my certification in my specialty has helped to enhance my knowledge, find my voice, and continue speaking up.
Sara Prech, ST, BSN, RN, CNOR
To be honest, becoming a nurse was never my end goal. It wasn’t until I started my schooling and clinicals for surgical technology that I decided I wanted to become a nurse. Soon after I graduated, I began my nursing school journey. Upon graduating with my RN, I found that it was not an easy transition going from scrub tech to RN. Being in this new role required me to find my voice, and I feel that this has been a common theme throughout my practice. It has not always been easy standing up for what is right. As I continued to grow in my role as a nurse, I returned to school--this time for my BSN. I found my voice getting stronger. However, what really elevated my practice and increased my confidence to advocate for my patients was earning my Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR) credential.
After growing so much in my role as an operating room nurse, I decided to pursue an opportunity in travel nursing. This experience was incredibly eye opening and I realized that your voice can be affected in ways that I never imagined. In this new environment, I found myself in situations either where I couldn’t speak up, or where it didn’t matter that I did. I quickly realized what a big role the culture of a health care institution plays in a person’s ability to speak up and fight for ones patients. The experience made me realize the importance of a “speak up” culture. As I precept new nurses, my greatest lesson for them is to use their voice, even if they find themselves speaking up alone.