Vail Health Magazine 2013 - page 44

Marvin Sleeper
Operating Room Nurse
As a registered nurse, Marvin
Sleeper also helps patients get
back on their feet. Unlike Burke,
he almost exclusively works in
the operating room, prepping and
assisting in surgery.
He came into nursing later than
some of his peers, at age 35. Though
medicine always interested him,
he worked as a carpenter for about
a decade — on top of a UC Santa
Cruz Environmental Studies degree
— before deciding he wanted to “go
to work and learn something new
every day,” he said. Nursing blended
his scientific curiosities with his
mechanical abilities.
After 12 years at Vail Valley Med-
ical Center, he takes pride in his
skills and helps train new
staff members.
One of the elements he loves
most about nursing involves team-
work. He supports surgeons by
knowing their specific techniques
and preferences. For example, one
surgeon may use only one brand
of surgical equipment or employ a
particular type of incision or way
of drilling tunnels. Sleeper must
know how each of the many doc-
tors performs surgery so he can
set up the operating room properly
and anticipate their needs.
“In this sense, in the VVMC
operating room, there is notably a
very high level of
expectation by the
surgeon of the OR
staff,” he said. Un-
like classic nurse
roles, Sleeper only
works with one
patient at a time.
“I prefer the
luxury of focusing
on one patient at a
time for the whole
time I have them,”
he said. He meets
with patients
before surgery,
ensuring their
consent forms,
history and other
needs are in order,
while calming any
anxieties. He also acts as a patient
advocate during surgery.
“The nurse taking the patient to
the OR has a huge impact on those
last 5, 10, 15 minutes the patient is
awake,” he says.
“So many patients roll into town
to ski and they get hurt. I always tell
them, ‘You came to the right town
to break your leg … because this is
what we do, and we do it very well.’”
Rebecca McCaulley
Eagle Care Clinic Nurse
Rebecca McCaulley started as a
nurse in surgery at VVMC, and
then moved to obstetrics. But her
early nursing career began in EMS
(Emergency Medical Services),
“for the excitement of it,” as well as
time off to ski.
“It wasn’t long before I realized
that I wanted to be more involved
with patients throughout their
care,” McCaulley says. “Eventually
my passions developed into work-
ing in the community on prevention
to optimize health for everyone.”
As she learned more about
people’s struggle with health
care, including cost, lack of
access to providers, limited
transportation and even fear,
she took a proactive stance.
“That is where my passion now
lies,” she says. “I want to do all I can
to make the experience of those
who face such barriers with health
care more effective and productive.”
It’s a passion her team shares.
In addition to the technical skills,
critical thinking, assessment and
triage, she and her team at Vail
Valley Medical Center’s Eagle Care
Clinic in Edwards help patients
identify and implement healthy
lifestyle habits. Eagle Care Clinic
provides high-quality, affordable
primary health care to uninsured
patients who live in Eagle County.
“My favorite work is helping
patients develop strategies to
change the trajectory of their
health,” she says.
She helps women pass down a
tradition of self-care by supporting
them in terms of choosing when
to be a mother, and then having
a healthy pregnancy and be well
prepared for motherhood. Her
highest priority is quality care for
all patients.
“I really love helping the patient
develop health literacy,” she says.
“The more they learn about their
care and their condition, the more
power they will develop to make
good lifestyle and health care de-
cisions and the more self-efficacy
they will develop. We can all use
some of that.”
To maintain her health, she
enjoys skiing in its many forms.
Off the hill, she loves to curl up
with a good book, and lately, she’s
been learning to paint, thanks to
her daughter who is an artist. Next
semester, McCaulley will graduate
with a master’s in public health to
help further her life’s mission.
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