When a patient goes into surgery, they typically know the doctor, but may not know the other healthcare workers in the room or the roles that they play in making sure everything goes safely and smoothly during their surgery.
As a surgical technologist, William Hyland is responsible for many key components of a successful surgery. William has been assisting Brian Gruber, MD, MBA in surgery for seven years and has worked as a surgical technologist for 13 years.
“When I moved to Arizona, I was working in an operating room doing orderly work,” William shared. “The surgical techs in that hospital seemed like the rocks stars of the OR and appeared to have lots of fun doing their jobs.”
William decided to become a surgical technologist and trained at Pima Community College in Tucson. His first job was in Yuma, Arizona and he also spent time in San Diego working at a level 1 trauma hospital. Upon returning to Phoenix, he worked at Paradise Valley Hospital (now part of the Abrazo Community Health Network) and is now with United Surgical Partners International (USPI). William has experience in assisting in many different types of surgeries, including orthopedic, neuro, general, vascular, urology, gynecology, thoracic, podiatry and plastics.
When asked what he likes most about his work, William stated, “I enjoy working with the surgeons and making the cases go smoothly. I like to make sure I have everything in the room that will be needed – doctors hate having to wait for someone to go out and look for an instrument or an instrument tray when they are in the middle of a case and need it at that moment.”
William’s work begins well before the surgery starts by helping to prepare the room, including:
- Collecting all of the necessary supplies and instruments for the case.
- Using the sterile technique to open the instruments onto a sterile table.
- “Scrubbing in” – like we see healthcare workers do on TV – and putting on a sterile gown and gloves using the sterile technique.
- Setting up his table with all the supplies and instruments he previously opened.
Once the surgery begins, William’s role is to hand the doctor the instruments as needed, suction blood so the doctor can see, hold retractors to expose the area being worked on and assist the surgeon in other ways, as needed.
In addition to these responsibilities, William is very involved in ensuring that all safety measures are followed. “One of the most important jobs I have is to keep track and count all of the sponges, sharps and instruments,” said William. “I do a count before and after of everything to be sure nothing is left in.”
During the surgical procedure, William pays close attention to make sure that the sterile technique is followed by everyone. If he sees a contamination occur, he must stop everyone and address it.
He also participates, along with all of the healthcare workers in the room, in “Time Out.” This is done just before the doctor makes the first incision. “Everyone stops what we’re doing and the nurse states the patient’s name and the procedure we are doing” explained William. “Everyone verbally agrees that the information is correct. Then before I can hand the doctor the instrument to make an incision, I must be able to see the mark the doctor previously made on the area he is working on and state out loud that I see the mark.”
When asked what it’s like to work with Dr. Gruber, William said, “I love the fact that he is so good at what he does and makes it look easy. I see other surgeons struggle with the things that Dr. Gruber does so well. He’s really perfected his techniques and the cases always go smoothly.”
William added that Rob Hutchinson, PA, who participates and assists in many of Dr. Gruber’s surgeries, always helps him stay ahead of things. “Rob lets me know what unique items might be needed for the case so that I can be prepared,” he stated.
While not working, William enjoys spending time with his wife Daysi, who he met while working and living in San Diego. They’ve been married for 10 years and enjoy going on cruises, traveling and hiking. William also enjoys mountain biking.
William and his wife Daysi live in a “tiny house” and love it. “It allows us to live a simple life and keep expenses down so we can do other things,” said William.