Tracy is a Head of Service for the Plastics team in the Main Operating Room. She plays a vital part in taking care of her patients from infants to the elderly and is indispensable when planning and coordinating their care. Tracy circulates and scrubs in on her plastics cases and also has been involved in off-service surgical cases where she was able to use her knowledge and experience to provide safe and efficient care for those patients. The following is a recent example of how she went above and beyond on a surgical case that was not even in her area of expertise.
Tracy had a trauma patient that was scheduled in her room. Tracy was vigilant in researching the nature of this patient's injuries and discovered that he had zygomatic arch fractures amongst other facial fractures and a CSF leak. The procedure that was scheduled that day was for an orthopedic repair and the positioning was going to be prone. Given the nature of this patient's injuries and the risk of going prone with facial fractures due to facial compression and the risk of additional crainial/facial edema, Tracy reached out to the ENT surgical team to consult if it was safe for the patient to be placed in a prone position. After much discussion between Ortho, Neuro, and ENT residents and attending physicians, the decision was made that the patient could be trialed in the prone position and if a CSF leak was detected, then they would need to abort due to a risk of leaking too much CSF fluid. The patient was placed prone and what was believed to be a CSF leak was discovered by Tracy assisting anesthesia. This case was aborted. An ENT resident explained later that if in the prone position for an extended period of time with the fractures he had and an active CSF leak, the patient could have had a risk of brain herniation. By Tracy speaking up and asking vital questions about the care of this patient with positioning, I feel that she directly had a part in saving this patient's life. Tracy went above and beyond the standard of care to make sure that this patient was protected. Tracy is truly an example of a Nurse who provides exceptional care and her attention to detail and Nursing ethic are beyond measure!
Tracy is an indispensable leader and advocate for Plastic Surgery. She is our Head of Service in the operating room, and I know she is indispensable because of how obvious it is when she is gone! She is so necessary that I don't want to imagine what would happen if she left for longer than her vacations. Her preparation for our cases is methodical and never random. Her approach with patients and families demonstrates confident compassion and immediately leads to calmness. Cranial vault families frequently compliment her to me and she always keeps their "first haircut" for parents as a keepsake. This is not unusual. In fact, with her these small, thoughtful moves are typical. Parents of my craniofacial and cleft lip/palate patients routinely comment to me about how comfortable she makes them on what for many is the most stressful day they've had as a parent.
Tracy's true superpower is delivering Surgical Nursing care internationally. Despite me being the "team leader" on paper for our India and Romanian missions, Tracy is the real team leader. She takes care of everything and I just do surgery...surgery I wouldn't have the privilege of doing without her. Simply put, she turns a completely foreign OR environment into functionally the same situation we have at home. Anyone who has worked abroad in medicine knows how challenging that can be! Tracy has formed relationships with other Nurses abroad and made her mark outside of the US. Whenever I am contacted to organize a trip, my first move that day is to make sure she can do it.
Some people in medicine just have "it". The thing that drives you day and night to deliver the best care you can, no matter what the challenge or obstacle. Tracy embodies that intangible feature. She is an ambassador for Nursing both here and abroad.