Friday, April 15, 2016

Amy Duke: Driving the patient experience in Surgery

As we get ready for the 2016 Employee Recognition Banquet on April 21, we asked our colleagues about what drives their passion for health care. Here is one story of Passion and Purpose at CoxHealth:

Amy Duke,
Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital

Amy Duke remembers the moment she decided she wanted to work in surgery. She was seeing the process firsthand when she had to have an emergency C-section. She asked, “Who are all these people? These can’t all be nurses or doctors.” Her anesthesiologist replied that many were surgical techs. Amy was intrigued.

“I thought, ‘I want to do that. That would be fun,’” she says. “I knew it would never be boring.”

Amy enrolled in the surgical tech program at Ozarks Technical Community College and in 2007 she joined the team in Surgery at Cox South.

She got the full range of experience, from routine surgeries to trauma cases before gravitating to orthopedics. She likes the rhythm of elective ortho cases, and she loves being able to be there for patients.

“When a patient comes in the room, they know they’re in good hands,” Amy says. “I like being a part of the team that helps that patient get back on their feet.”

In many cases, she is one of the last people patients see before they go under for surgery. The vast majority of her patients don’t remember her, but when they do, Amy says it’s “an uplifting event.”

“One patient, all I did was hold her hand and talk to her as she went to sleep. She remembered my name and she wrote me a nice letter and made me a little angel,” Amy says with a smile. “That’s something I’m not going to forget, ever. Surgery is a life-changing event for people and it’s the little things that make a difference. Take time to smile and hold a hand -- remember that they’re human, not just a procedure.”