Gema Granados was immersed in the operating room through summer nursing fellowship
Over the summer, Gema Granados, a senior nursing student in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions, got a first-hand look at how the operating room works. Gema was accepted to the Hartford HealthCare Nursing Fellowship and was placed at Midstate Medical Center in Meriden. The eight-week fellowship included shadowing a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Gema assisted in intubating a patient before surgery and her CRNA explained the entire process for monitoring a patient's respiratory system during surgery.
Gema was able to observe a variety of surgeries, which included spinal fusions, spinal decompressions, hip replacements, shoulder replacements, knee replacements, a nasal reconstruction, a fistula creation, robotic gallbladder removals, as well as many other general cases.
“My favorite cases to observe were the orthopedic surgeries – hip, shoulder and knee replacements,” Gema said. “I was able to see the entire anatomy in which the surgeons worked on. After one surgery, the surgeon let me touch and feel the bone fragments that were replaced in a knee surgery.”
At the end of her fellowship, she created a presentation to stakeholders and members of the executive board of directors of Hartford Healthcare. She conducted an observation study on the start times of surgical procedures and how delays affect providers, the hospital, and the patient.
Gema said she learned many important skills through the fellowship, the most important of which was teamwork. “The surgeons knew everyone who was in the room with them, including the scrub techs, the anesthesia team, the radiologists, and nurses,” she said. “The surgeons took pride in advocating for their patients and helped ease their concerns and anxiety before the surgery had begun.”
Gema credits her success in the fellowship to her nursing classes, including the Adult Health class which helped her understand why patients require certain types of surgeries and what the recovery process would be afterward. She also said that her experiences in clinical placements helped her in preparing to work hands-on with the nurses.
One experience during Gema’s fellowship that stood out to her was a surgical breast removal case. The surgeon she worked with, Dr. Wilson, knew she was a student and allowed her to scrub into the case so she could assist. Gema was allowed to hold clamps and suction and cauterize throughout the entire procedure.
“I had never thought about a career outside of bedside nursing, but through this experience I know that there are different specialties within nursing I can pursue with my degree,” she said.
“Having been able to see surgeries and understand my role in helping a patient in their rehabilitation process will allow me to provide the necessary care to ensure their recovery,” she added. “A key component of this internship was advocating for the patient, and that is something I will continue to carry throughout my academic career and professional career.”
Gema Granados '23, Nursing
Having been able to see a surgery and understand my role in helping a patient in their rehabilitation process will allow me to provide the necessary care to ensure their recovery. A key component of this internship was advocating for the patient and that is something I will continue to carry throughout my academic career and professional career.