How Medical Professionals Stay Warm During Challenging Times
Would you agree if we say that healthcare workers have some of the warmest hearts of all? They are compassionate, loving, caring, and they're always there to support us. Just think about the many times they've helped us feel better throughout our lives. What would we do without them?
Today, we want to give special thanks to all healthcare workers around the world who have challenged the circumstances for us. Now, more than ever, it's a moment to appreciate them and recognize all their efforts. We want to pay special tribute to them by sharing Dr. Donté Flanagan's story with the ORORO community. Learn how he uses music therapy to help patients stay calm in the preoperative holding area, and how he's staying warm during these challenging times.
Who is Donté?
I am Dr. Donté Flanagan, DNP (Doctor Nurse Practitioner), CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist). I have been practicing Anesthesia for 10 years now, from Atlanta, GA, to Birmingham, AL, to New York City, even as far as St. Thomas, USVI, and most recently, New Orleans, LA. I’ve covered specialties ranging from neurology, orthopedics, urology, ENT, to labor and delivery, and plastic surgery and open-heart surgery. I’ve had the pleasure of providing anesthesia for a full range of patients from different cultures and different backgrounds across this country.
Using Music Therapy in the Surgery Room
For me, there’s nothing more exciting than making a connection with the patient in the preoperative holding area and then see their body shift as they turn over their trust to me knowing that I will ensure their safety and comfort during their procedure.
During my doctorate education, I chose to focus my research on music therapy for patients undergoing general seizure. Music therapy has been shown to have an effect on patients' pain perception as well as increase patient satisfaction. I offer each patient the opportunity to choose the music (from artist, to song, to genre), to play as we prepare to drift off to sleep. It’s one small token and a way for me to give them some bit of autonomy in a space where they have given over complete control to the surgeon, to the members of the OR staff, and to me. And they are so grateful!
2020 has been unusually challenging in the field of medicine but especially in the world of Anesthesia as we know it. This is the first time I’ve ever experienced going through a pandemic and having to stay to take care of patients acutely for days and weeks at a time. As we suspended our surgical department, we transferred our skillset to other areas of the hospital. We took our skillset and began intubating patients in the emergency room and Intensive Care Units, while also helping to place invasive monitors devices and managing ventilators over the course of 10 weeks.
Staying Warm in the Hospital
Operating room times can vary anywhere from 15 minutes to 15 hours. They are known for being dramatically colder than the ambient temperature for the rest of the hospital. On days when I’m in longer cases, I've found the benefit of my ORORO heated vest to be the quickest way to elevate my body temperature and relieve the chill when I go on a break from the operating room. But during this pandemic, I got to see the extended range and use of the vest as I found myself wearing it a lot more around the hospital.
The hospital temperature thermostat was set to a lower degree due to many of the patients’ elevated temperatures, a symptom of the coronavirus, with the goal of trying to treat the patient by lowering their body temperatures. I found myself walking around the hospital seeing patients in my heated apparel a lot more often than I had been in the past. It was a way to keep my body temperature regulated but also to offer some sense of normalcy as opposed to wearing the gowns and various layers of PPE that we had to do when we went into a patient’s room.
In the past week or so, things have started to get back to normal and since then I’ve begun to go back to the normal use of my vest, but I have gained a greater appreciation for its utility over the last 10 weeks.
Like Dr. Danté, healthcare workers around the world are giving their all for us. So, if you happen to see them around, don't forget to thank them, give them a warm smile and comforting words. They need all our support, especially during these challenging days.