Gwendolyn Jackson, Surgical Technology Program Faculty

Featuring Gwendolynn Jackson, AAS, RN, CST, Surgical Technology Program Faculty, Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences

The Da Vinci Surgical System offers an advanced set of instruments for surgeons to use in performing robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery. This cutting-edge technology is already making its way into operating rooms (ORs) across the country, which affects the job of the surgical technologist. To ensure students are provided with greater marketability when they enter the workforce, the surgical technology program at Reading Hospital has incorporated the Da Vinci Surgical Certification program into its coursework. ARC/STSA spoke to Gwendolynn Jackson, AAS, RN, CST, surgical technology faculty at Reading Hospital, to learn more about the certification.

What is the Da Vinci Surgical system certification process and how did your school first learn about it?

The Da Vinci Certification process is a free online course that can be accessed here. We are a hospital-based program and the online training utilized for OR staff is also available to whomever wishes to utilize it. We decided to incorporate the free program into our coursework.

What are the benefits of using this system? How does it complement or augment the students’ learning experience?

The benefits for patients of the Da Vinci Surgical System are a shortened hospital stay and quicker post-op recovery. For our students’ learning purposes, the Da Vinci Surgical System offers a unique chance to fully see what the surgeon sees during the operation. Students benefit from this shared perspective, as well as fully hearing the surgeon communicating to all team members during the surgical procedure. They can see first-hand the team members utilizing this communication to anticipate the surgeon’s needs when the surgeon is seated at the surgeon console and is not scrubbed at the field. They also gain a better understanding of the surgeries they observe because the operative site is on a monitor for them to observe.

Students at the Reading Hospital Surgical Technology Program observe as a recent program graduate works with the Da Vinci system.

Have your students been able to use the online training component in their remote learning?

We have not used the online training from Da Vinci as part of remote learning because we have a smaller class size that was able to meet on-site and be within the safe parameters of new social distancing requirements. That being said, this is certainly coursework that can be part of remote learning for programs that are incorporating new materials with the changing circumstances. I would highly suggest that any program exploring this option have instructors take the online course themselves so they are familiar with the website, required logins and the process itself.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about the certification?

If this is something you are considering, please keep in mind there are several models of the Da Vinci Surgical robot. We take the modules that are in line with the Da Vinci robots at our clinical sites. It would also be a good idea to have a lecture regarding the Da Vinci before students take the online course, so that students are familiar with the terminology and concepts that are part of the course. Additionally, I would highly recommend contacting a local Da Vinci representative to help incorporate this certification. Integrating this certification into your program can be a great opportunity for your students. We have received positive feedback from many graduates who have shared that that the Da Vinci certification helped them gain employment after graduation by giving them an edge over other applicants.