MORRIS – Surgical technician Rob Chaplin’s positive influence can be felt throughout the surgery department at Morris Hospital, where he has worked for the past 25 years. A knowledgeable mentor for new employees, valued assistant for surgeons and respected colleague among his peers, Chaplin, of Morris, was recognized as Morris Hospital’s May Fire Starter of the Month for the immeasurable impact that he has on the day-to-day operations of the surgery department.
Chaplin joined the Morris Hospital team in 1996 as a surgical technician, bringing with him previous experience from a hospital in Chicago and a private physician’s office in Joliet. In nominating Chaplin for Fire Starter of the Month, co-workers Amy Snyder and Stephanie Hauch expressed their appreciation for the way Chaplin goes above and beyond to prepare each and every surgical case every day.
“In the morning, before his co-workers have even arrived, he is double-checking instrument trays, organizing case carts and setting up equipment in the rooms,” Snyder and Hauch wrote in their nomination. “This is just one example of what Rob does to [ensure] the day goes smoothly and staff have the equipment and instruments that are needed for their cases. He communicates very well with his co-workers, plans ahead and anticipates needs not only in his assigned operating room, but in all the other rooms as well.”
Chaplin said he always had his sights set on being a first assist and was quick to pursue certification when the program became available several years ago. In this role, he is at the surgeon’s side in the operating room, ready to help with whatever the surgeon needs, whether it’s tying, closing or retracting, as a few examples. Like everything he does, Chaplin worked hard to be a really good first assist – the kind who knows the procedures and is able to anticipate the surgeon’s next steps. That’s why he often is requested by surgeons for their most difficult cases.
Along with his duties as a surgical technician and first assist, Chaplin serves as a preceptor for new employees and strives to help them achieve success through the surgery department’s six-month orientation period. It’s a fitting role for someone like Chaplin, who, after 25 years, knows the surgeons, the procedures and where everything in the department is located. He estimated that he has mentored more than 200 new employees over the years.
“We have great respect for Rob’s knowledge and passion for preparing the next generation to be excellent scrub techs and nurses,” Snyder and Hauch wrote. “He shows great compassion for new employees and helps build their knowledge and skills from the ground up. He does an excellent job preparing staff to use their critical thinking skills, teaching them how to anticipate next steps in the procedure, which is an attribute Rob excels at. He is always thinking and is one step ahead, which helps the case go smoothly.”
Chaplin takes great pride in his work and said he enjoys the challenges that come with each surgical case.
“Even though we don’t get to see the patient after surgery, it’s rewarding knowing that we were able to take care of their medical problem,” he said. “I look forward to whatever the new adventure of each day may be.”
In early civilizations, fire starters were individuals who had the important job of keeping the flame alive. With more than 1,400 employees, Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers is the largest employer in Grundy County.