Day in the Life: MIS Edition with Shauntra Dickerson

Throughout Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) Week, we’re highlighting some of our amazing SpecialtyCare staff. These individuals make a significant impact every day, and we’re excited to acknowledge their notable contributions to MIS. 

How long have you been a minimally invasive clinical specialist and which team are you currently on?  

I’ve been a Minimally Invasive Clinical Specialist for five years. I’m currently working on the Midsouth-Memphis Team.

What led you to become interested in MIS, and can you describe the path you took to become a minimally invasive clinical specialist?

It was always my dream to work in the healthcare field as a child. My parents’ friends and colleagues worked in healthcare, and they inspired me to follow their paths. From a very early age, I found my calling in healthcare. After graduating from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a Bachelors’s in Biology, I was eager to start my healthcare career.

Soon after being a discouraged recent graduate, I had the wonderful opportunity to accept a job at SpecialtyCare. I instantly became interested in MIS once I knew that I would be working in-depth with surgeons, nurses, surgical technicians, and overall hospital staff. Learning all about the laparoscopic industry really intrigued me. After my first week of work, I knew that I made the right decision.

What are the benefits of a career in MIS?  

The benefit of a career in MIS is the opportunity to be part of a team that shares my values and integrity. Every staff member I work aside makes it their duty to perform top-quality patient care. This makes me feel that I am truly making a difference in my community. I am working with individuals who value my work ethic and strive to uplift each other to strengthen our team.

What is a day in the life of a minimally invasive clinical specialist like?  

A Minimally Invasive Clinical Specialist starts their day with lots of coffee because we know the day will be busy and eventful. It’s now time to roll after checking in with hospital staff and counting the cases for the day. Our most standard cases are Lap Cholecystectomy and Lap Appendectomy, but there is always a wide range of other cases on our schedules done laparoscopically. 

Then, we’ll set up cases that include towers, insufflators, cameras, scopes, trays, and any extra or doctor-specific items. We assist with all the surgeon’s needs and equipment troubleshooting during the cases. After the case is done, we perform a 15-step cleaning process with sterile techniques to reprocess all instruments, so they’re available for the next day. This process gets repeated daily. However, there’s always something new happening, making each day different. There is never a boring day.

What communication advice would you give when working successfully in a team dynamic?  

When working with a team, it’s essential to over-communicate. Having excellent communication within a team prevents mishaps and ensures everyone knows their expectations. 

Our team created a group message to insert daily changes and keep everyone updated on how the day was going. This creates a tight bond, allowing us to work as a family. We applaud and shout each other out when a team member showcases excellent work, and we make sure that no one is left behind. This allows everyone to feel that their hard work is appreciated.

What was a surprise to you about the career when you first started? 

What surprised me the most about this career was how huge the laparoscopic industry is. Before seeing it for myself, I never knew how much surgeons loved utilizing our equipment. In my mind, I thought that the majority of cases would be hardcore trauma like an episode of ER, but that’s not always the case. Laparoscopic technology and instruments constantly innovate and improve for faster and safer surgery. I’m glad to advocate spreading awareness and knowledge about the laparoscopic world.

What has been a memorable moment or story you’d like to share from your career?

Moments that I’ll never forget are when our surgeons personally thank us for the quality work we provide during every case. It provides immense gratitude that what we’re doing helps patients’ acute or chronic health issues. Knowing that my job consists of making a huge impact on someone’s life warms my heart, and that’s what makes me proud to be a SpecialtyCare employee.