Morris Hospital honors surgical technician Rob Chaplin

Surgeons often choose Chaplin for their ‘most difficult cases’

Morris Hospital recently honored surgical technician Rob Chaplin of Morris as its May Fire Starter of the Month.

A release from Morris Hospital said that Chaplin is seen as a “knowledgeable mentor for new employees, valued assistant for surgeons, and respected colleague among his peers” and that he has “immeasurable impact that he has on the day-to-day operations of the surgery department.”

Two co-workers, Amy Snyder and Stephanie Hauch, collaborated in recommending Chaplin for the honor.

“In the morning, before his coworkers 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 assure the day goes smoothly and staff have the equipment and instruments that are needed for their cases. He communicates very well with his coworkers, plans ahead, and anticipates needs not only in his assigned operating room, but in all the other rooms as well.”

Chaplin came to Morris Hospital in 1996 as a surgical technician. He had previously worked at a hospital in Chicago and for a Joliet doctor in private practice, the release said. But Chaplin always wanted to be a “first assist” in the operating room, the release said.

Responsibilities include “tying, closing or retracting” during procedures as well as understanding procedures and anticipating the surgeon’s next moves. In fact, many surgeons request Chaplin for their “most difficult cases,” the release said.

So he pursued certification a few years ago when that program became available, the release said.

“Even though we don’t get to see the patient after surgery,” Chaplin said in the release, “it’s rewarding knowing that we were able to take care of their medical problem.”

Chaplin also serves as a preceptor for new employees – more than 200 of them over the years, he estimated in the release – and helps guide them through the surgery department’s six month orientation period.

“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.”

Denise  Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for The Herald-News in Joliet. She covers a variety of human interest stories. She also writes the long-time weekly tribute feature “An Extraordinary Life about local people who have died. She studied journalism at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, now the University of St. Francis.