It is a very responsible job to make up the surgical schedule, though it is not a full-time job.
Give info regarding surgery through the interpreter to the patient and family. Let them take their time and think about it-do not push them to make a decision quickly. Also let patients know they will need to stay in the hospital for the night (for free but there is no food) and they will need to be seen the next morning. Always ask if they have any questions and answer them. If they cannot make up their mind, let them come back later or another day.
Put patient’s name, age, sex, kind of surgery and eye to be operated on into schedule for the appropriate day. OD is right eye and OS is left eye. CE is cataract surgery, the other kind of surgeries are not abbreviated. Also write down if patient is priority 1 (blind in both eyes), priority 2 (one eye blind, other poor but still can get around alone) or neither – then do not write anything.
Make sure you check with the doctor how many surgeries to schedule per day. We will make up the final schedule on the morning of the surgery according to priorities and how many patients showed up. All patients need to come in the morning at 7 30, and they all need Keratometer and A-scan measurements. The first 6 patients need to stay, and the rest should return to the operating room with the necklace at 12 pm.
Give the necklace to the patient with all the necessary info and let him/her go. Always double-check the correct eye on the exam-sheet to be put on the necklace. NEVER correct the eye to be operated on on the necklace – give a new one. (Once we operated on the wrong eye because of this.) You can cause big harm by putting down the wrong eye-though the doctor will also double-check. Make sure the patient understands that he/she MUST wear the necklace when returning for surgery, and also for the postop exam. If the patient is undecided or tentatively scheduled – tentative is when the schedule is full and the surgery is not priority, but we tell the patient to come just in case someone does not show up-still give them a necklace and write down “undecided” or “tentative” on it.
Always ask patient how far he/she lives, (also marked on exam-sheet) and try to schedule patients who live far away for the same or next day. The locals can return any time. Sometimes people travel several hours to see us.
Put the exam sheet into the accordion surgical folder for the appropriate day. Try to pay attention-lot of time can be wasted if you misplace an exam-sheet.
Do not hurry-there is plenty of time for scheduling and it is important it is made right.
Please, look at the Postop Follow-up schedule, try to memorize it and tape it on the wall!
If you have any suggestions to improve the system (after doing the work, of course), please, let me know!