5. Lynne Thomas
Lynne Thomas, BSN, RN, CGRN, is the vice president of education for Integrated Medical Systems International, Inc., and is a patient advocate for safety and infection prevention.
When working as a staff nurse and a manager, Lynne understood patient fears and the complication of endoscopic procedures, said her nominator, Rose Seavey, MBS, BS, CNOR, CRCST, CSPDT, president and CEO of Seavey Healthcare Consulting, Inc.
"Lynne is the go-to-person for endoscopy if I have any questions or issues regarding endoscopes. She willingly shares her knowledge and expertise with all levels of healthcare workers," Seavey added.
Lynne is involved with national educational outlets focusing on education toward patient safety, care and handling of endoscopes and equipment. She is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), and is currently working with committees that are developing recommended practices. Most recently, she was involved in the AAMI task group for the development of a new AAMI technical information report on endoscope reprocessing.
Lynne stays current on all standards and recommended practices from the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA), the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). Whenever asked a question, she readily answers and cites where that recommendation came from and the meaning behind it.
In addition, Lynne has lectured and has written articles on topics relating to endoscopes and endoscopic procedures.
According to Seavey, "She is the gold standard of what makes the endoscopy work successful."
To Lynne, the best part of being a nurse is its humanitarian aspect.
"My early nursing career began as many other little girls who grew up to be nurses; I wanted to make people feel better," Lynne said. "I started the profession as a bedside care-giver who learned to build a relationship with patients and their families while providing care. That was followed by the opportunity to build relationships in endoscopy. Here the time spent with patients was measured in hours, not days. But many endoscopy patients had chronic or recurring issues so I was still able to see them often."
It was also in the endoscopy department where Lynne's saw some of the best teamwork she'd encountered between nurses and physicians. Endoscopy afforded a better quality of life in many ways, she concluded.
Lynne believes that endoscopy nursing often provides a sense of immediate gratification. "When I began my work as an endoscopy nurse in the mid-1980s I loved the fact that early polyp detection and removal could eliminate colon cancer, that endoscopic extraction of gallstones immediately decompressed the bile duct and eliminated pain, and that dilating an esophagus could allow for better nutritional intake," she said.
"While all of these are still important, they have been joined by more sophisticated non-invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that would have been labeled 'endoscopic science fiction' back then," Lynne added. "I love that endoscopy is a specialty that is constantly growing and offers challenges to grow with dynamic innovations which will continue to have more impact in the lives of patients."
The recommendation that Lynne has for endoscopy professionals is to never stop growing.
"Even though your day may seem like it’s filled with the same types of patients who receive the same type of care, there’s always something unique you can learn from each of them that may be useful to you or others when encountering other patients. Be proud of what you do and share with your colleagues in your department and/or professional society what you have learned that could impact the care of other endoscopy patients."
One of Lynne's proudest moments as a nurse was when a hospital with an identified breach asked her to perform a risk assessment. The team also asked her to assist in creating processes that would eliminate the potential for similar breaches.
Lynne has a lot to be proud of, but when it comes to being selected in the top five for the EndoNurse MVP 2012 award, she is also humbled.
"It is an honor to have been selected in the top five, out of so many talented and skilled people, and to be included among some of the top professionals in our field," Lynne said. "But also, I am so grateful for the opportunity to motivate and encourage other equally valuable endoscopy professionals with this honor."