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Should a robot perform your surgery?

Robotic surgery - the term implies some futuristic concept, a la the “Jetsons” or Isaac Asimov. As someone who was a science fiction fan growing up, I never thought I’d actually spend every day of my professional life answering this question.

As a gynecologic oncology surgeon, this is a question I now ask myself every time I pick up a patient’s chart. And the answer more times than not is YES! Why?

 

Your Multidisciplinary Surgical Care Team

It can be overwhelming and confusing to have numerous professionals involved in your care when you undergo surgery. Your surgeon, also known as the “attending” surgeon, oversees your total care when you have surgery. In addition to your attending surgeon you will encounter many different people during your hospitalization who are invested in your care. The following is meant to familiarize you with professionals you may encounter during your hospital experience.

Your Surgical Team

Thoracic Surgeons, Fellows, and Residents

We take pride and are highly invested in teaching at Swedish. As part of this dedication to teaching we (the Thoracic Surgery team at Swedish) participate in an accredited training program for thoracic and esophageal “fellows”. Our fellows are surgeons seeking additional advanced surgical instruction in this specialized field of thoracic and esophageal surgery.

Swedish has a robust surgical residency training program which includes time spent on our service. There is always a senior surgical resident assigned to our team involved in the daily care of our patients.

During your hospitalization and follow-up care you will routinely encounter the attending surgeon, fellow, and resident daily. In the event that your attending surgeon is away, your care will be directed by one of our other thoracic surgical attending physicians.

Interventional Pulmonologist

Our Thoracic Surgery team also includes an airway specialist (Interventional Pulmonologist) who understands complex airway problems and specializes in advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to treat patients with cancer, airway disorders, and pleural disease. This specialist collaborates closely with our Thoracic Surgery team, a team of medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists to improve the care of our patients.

Thoracic Surgery Nurses

Nurses at the bedside are integral in our care delivery during your hospitalization. We value the twenty-four hour expert care that our specially trained nurses offer and work closely with them to provide you a positive experience.

Thoracic Surgery Nurse Practitioners

Our team also includes two expert nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners are nurses who have graduate level training in specific areas of adult and acute care medicine. These nurse practitioners work closely with the surgeons and nursing staff in your overall care management, educate you about your health condition(s), and work with you in managing health concerns following surgery. They facilitate your transition of care to home and support you in the early post-operative period.

Additional Support Professionals

We commonly call on the expertise and help of other health care professionals while you are in the hospital, such as:

Nutritionists

Many of our patients come to us in a compromised health state. We will often consult with our nutritionists for their recommendations and approaches to provide you with the nutritional support required to improve your nutritional state and support your recovery.

Physical and Occupational Therapists

Physical and occupational therapists are vital in the care of our patients. They provide assessments and recommendations for rehabilitation and work with us to restore your physical and functional capacity following surgery.

Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists are also extraordinarily vital in the care of our patients. They work hard to assess and maintain pulmonary hygiene and optimize your breathing status following surgery.

We believe that by incorporating a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals into your surgical care we can offer you the continuity and quality of care that you deserve.

Do you have questions about multidisciplinary health care teams? Or, have you ever experienced multidisciplinary care teams? Please share your experiences and questions with us.

Are you ready for surgery?

I am a nurse practitioner and one of my jobs is to help patients through their surgical experience with us. Here are some of the things you should know before surgery:

Communication

Surgery can be a very stressful event, and thinking about it may cause some anxiety. The best way to prepare for surgery is through education. Make sure that you have talked to all of your doctors so that you are making an informed decision about surgery. We will collaborate with your primary care physician and your cardiologist, but we encourage you to communicate with your entire medical team as well.

Education

Learn about your surgery, what your hospital stay will be like, and what you can expect during recovery. The more relaxed and confident you are going into surgery, the better your chances of a successful and comfortable experience.

Diet

 

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