By Jerad Claytor, MSHE, CST

From the exciting Hands-On Learning Lab and collaborative Round Table Discussions to the accreditation-focused presentations and ending with an AFE Workshop, the first AccredX conference held October 6-8 was a HIT! Educators from across the country were able to listen, learn, share, and network with colleagues to better improve their time in the classroom… and more importantly the student’s time in the classroom.

Thursday afternoon was filled with energetic discussions and interesting hands-on activities as educators had the opportunity to sit down with experts and colleagues to answer all of those grueling questions we always have as educators. Attendees of the Round Table Discussions were greeted with, not only a charming MC (thank you very much), but a group of experts who discussed areas like Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the joys of Budgeting, and the ever-popular Legal Landmines, just to name a few.

Ask the Experts: Round Table Discussions

Attendees of the roundtables were buzzing with excitement and left the sessions with newfound energy, ideas, and tips to take back to their programs. LaToya Rush, BS, CST, program director of the surgical technology program at Concorde Career College in North Hollywood, California, shared how helpful the Round Tables were as she proceeds through the initial accreditation process. “The Round Tables made it so clear and less intimidating to go through accreditation.”

Thursday afternoon also included the fun of a hands-on learning lab. What better way to teach our students than to bring in simulators and techniques that can get our students real-life experience before going to clinical. Attendees of the learning lab session saw simulations and lab examples to bring back to their students in techniques in bowel anastomosis and ways to teach how to convert from a laparoscopic to open, and drilling down those anatomy skills with the Anatomage table!

Lisa Chavez, AAS, CST, and Nicole Pignotti, CST, core faculty members at Wichita State University Campus of Applied Technology (WSU Tech) in Wichita, KS, presented the station Converting Laparoscopic to Open: Teaching Students to Work Under Pressure (Standard III). “Some attendees expressed that they have the [simulation] equipment but don’t know how to properly implement it. At our station, Nicole and I simulated a laparoscopic cholecystectomy for the attendees then let them take over. There were many laughs and talks about how this looks a lot easier than it is. AccredX was an awesome experience and I was happy to have the opportunity to talk about the benefits of teaching students how to prioritize and use their critical thinking skills in real life scenario,” says Chavez.

Hands-On Learning Lab

Rebecca Hall, MS, CRCST, CSA, CST, FAST, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Surgical Technology & Surgical First Assisting programs at Delta College in University Center, Michigan, teamed up with Anatomage on the station Incorporating Virtual Dissection in Surgical Procedures (Standard III).

“Our short, though in-depth presentation for Learning Lab attendees on brain aneurysms and brain aneurysm surgical clips included background information of what causes aneurysms as well as the procedural treatment for such abnormalities.  Use of the Anatomage Table gave all present a visual three-dimensional representation of both the abnormality as well as the surgical solutions available.  Attendees were also able to try their hand at table quizzes and dissection of a cadaver.  Attendees really seemed to enjoy the technology available to supplement teaching anatomy,” says Hall.

The final two Learning Lab stations were titled Laparoscopic Procedures: Teaching Basic Laparoscopic Skills and Laparoscopic Simulation: Bowel Anastomosis (Standard III), sponsored by Surgical Science, who taught the attendees new approaches to engage their students using laparoscopic camera navigation and instrumentation in an anatomical envionment.

Friday was filled with accreditation-focused presentations and panel discussions on topics from how to incorporate games into the classroom and how those tie into our learning outcomes, a surgeon’s perspective on how our students can be scrub-ready, and tips and tricks (plus a lot of laughs) on how to better manage our programs to fulfill Standards requirements with the amazing “Chris-and-Chris Show,” featuring Chris Ahearn, AAS, CST, and Chris Blevins, AAS-ST, BSCJ, CST, who gave a lively presentation on the topic “Seize the Day! Lessons in Program Management.”

L-R: Chris Ahearn and Chris Blevins give lessons in program management; Pamela Siggers, Dr. David Lloyd, and Jennifer Lloyd are locked in on Christy Baily-Byers as they discuss community partnerships; and, Lydell Powell shows how to integrate new curriculum.

Melissa Carnahan, BS, CST, program director of the surgical technology program at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, remarked that she felt the presentation by Chris and Chris was the most influential because it showed that “we are not alone in our struggles and being problem solvers is what will move us forward for our students.”

Friday wrapped up with the amazing Golden Jubilee celebration, commemorating ARCSTSA’s 50 years of support to Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting Education. Attendees of the celebration dazzled in amazing cocktail attire, wow’d in costumes celebrating the last 50 years, and danced the night away!

Attendees left with newfound energy and commitment to our career fields and ideas to light the fire under our students to launch them to success. We cannot wait to see you all again for AccredX 2023 – save the date for November 2-4 in Norfolk, VA! Registration coming soon.

Jerad Claytor, MSHE, CST, has been the program director at Marion Technical College in Marion, Ohio, since 2019.  Claytor worked to start the surgical technology program at MTC, which achieved CAAHEP initial accreditation in 2021.  Claytor sits on the EdAccred Management Board as well as the ARC/STSA Newsletter Committee.  When not on campus he enjoys playing competitive volleyball and dancing with a local ballet company in Columbus, Ohio.

Editors note:
Many thanks from the ARC/STSA to AST and NBSTSA for co-sponsoring the Golden Jubilee, to Incision for sponsoring the AccredX luncheon, and to Platinum Education Group for sponsoring the Opening Reception.