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5 questions with | Victoria Siefert, HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital

5 questions with ... Victoria Siefert, certified surgical technologist at HSHS St. Mary's Hospital


Name: Victoria Siefert

Age: 23

Occupation: Certified surgical technologist at HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital

City of residence: Decatur

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How did you come to be a certified surgical technologist?
I always knew I wanted to be in a field where I could help someone or make an impact on someone's well-being. In high school, I researched all the different types of health care jobs I could obtain. I did not want to go to nursing school at the time, so I thought perhaps I could be an X-ray tech. I looked into it, talked with the director at Richland. Nope, not for me either. At the time, my neighbor was a surgical technologist and a surgical technologist professor. So, I spoke with her and her students during a health professions open house at Richland Community College. There I knew that's what I wanted to do — surgery. I could help people at their most vulnerable time of their life.

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What does your job involve?
My job involves getting up very early and arriving at work by 6:30 a.m. (sometimes earlier) to set-up the operating rooms and the sterile field. When we get to work in the morning, we take all of our supplies, equipment, and instrumentation needed for that particular surgery and surgeon. All the surgeons have different preferences on instruments and supplies. Once we have all that is needed, we open and set-up all of the sterile items needed for the procedure. Our jobs are to monitor and keep the sterility throughout the whole procedure. We are the right-hand man's of the surgeon. Literally. We try to anticipate the surgeons moves, handing them what they ask for. It helps with the efficiency of the procedure. The job is not only to ensure the sterility of the procedure, but to know what the surgeon needs (sometimes before he/she states what they need). Once, the procedure is finished we help clean up the surgical rooms to prepare for our next surgery.
What have you found most difficult about your job so far, especially during COVID-19? 
During the height of COVID-19, elective surgeries were stopped. For the surgical department, that meant no surgery unless it was an emergency. We had to help out where was needed throughout the hospital. When the elective surgeries were allowed again, our department was very busy. We had many surgeries to catch up on. The toughest part was working long, many, many hours of overtime with half the number of co-workers (due to furloughs).  But we have overcome that as a team and are ready for what's next.
How long have you lived in Decatur and what're your favorite parts about the city?
I have lived in Decatur my whole life, almost 24 years. Pre-COVID I enjoyed going to local places like Brew Works and our newest addition, the amphitheater. I enjoy how the city of Decatur has tried very hard in bringing the community together with more events. During the winter it is nice to see the lights on Merchant Street and downtown. It's beautiful. The memorial to 9/11 was also a very nice touch for Lake Decatur.
Do you have any goals set for 2021?
My goal for 2021 is to finish nursing school and pass my NCLEX (the board exam for nursing). Yes, I said nursing school. I changed my mind and am becoming a nurse anyway.

 A look at previous Herald & Review '5 Questions'

Contact Garrett Karsten at (217) 421-6949. Follow him on Twitter: @GarrettKarsten


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