Most people don’t give much thought to operating room set up when preparing for surgery, but Bridget Hoffenkamp, director of the surgical technology program, thinks about it all the time. As a certified surgical technologist, Hoffenkamp knows an operating room with a sterile field, correct instruments, and supplies ready to go is an important part of a successful surgery.
Hoffenkamp, who is in her first year at ECC, leads a team that works with both students and health care centers. They teach students the technical and patient care skills needed to succeed in this field and set up clinical experiences that benefit both students and surgical facilities.
Learn more about Hoffenkamp’s commitment to training the next generation of surgical techs and sterile processing techs:
In your words, what do you do at ECC? What do you want others to know about your job? Or what would help others understand your job?
I teach sterile processing and distribution along with ensuring our surgical technology students and the clinical sites we are affiliated with get the best experience possible.
Surgical techs and sterile processing techs set up surgical equipment and supplies to create a sterile environment so that surgery can be performed with as little germ contamination as possible. In addition to the technical skills, we teach our students about quality patient care, quality service to internal customers like surgeons, nurses, and hospital staff, and how that all connects. It’s a very hands-on environment, and if you pass our surgical technology lab in Building A, you may be able to see our students learning how to set up for and engaging in mock surgeries.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been here?
Winning a new contract with a hospital to be their choice for a surgical tech program. Other colleges were also vying for this contract, but we ended up getting that hospital’s stamp of approval. Hopefully, we can start sending our students there for clinical rotations soon.
Name a job or role at ECC that you would like to try for one day and explain why.
I would like to be a student in the culinary department. I love to cook and eat, so to understand the creative side and necessary tasks that go along with culinary perfection seems so interesting to me. Then, I can use what I’ve learned for the rest of my cooking and eating career!
If you could instantly be an expert in one thing, what would you choose?
Getting rid of moles in my lawn. It seems like every professional lawn company has no idea how to do this!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e., hobbies/interests)?
I enjoy trying new recipes of my own or from others (restaurants, live festivals, cookouts, etc.). I also enjoy live stand-up comedy shows, because laughter is necessary in life.
If you could live in a TV show, which show would it be, and why?
I haven’t watched too much television lately since “Game of Thrones” ended, but I know I would NOT want to live in any of the seven kingdoms in that show.
Where is the best place you’ve traveled? Or where would you like to visit?
The best place I have traveled is Sicily, and I’d really like to visit Switzerland.
You have to wear a t-shirt with just one word on it for an entire year. What word would that word be, and why? Selfless, because hopefully it would open up the idea for people to include thinking and doing for others, and then that selfless cycle would eventually circle back to you, all in a positive light.
Share a fact about you that might surprise people to learn.
I used to work in the real estate industry! I worked for a real estate title company and I was a real estate agent for Century 21. I also used to work for a home builder in their finance department.
What job have you held (besides ECC) that was the most fun, interesting, or difficult? Explain why.
I have been a certified surgical technologist for 12 years now, and I used to work in an operating room with a neurology surgeon who performed spinal surgeries and brain surgeries. Neurosurgery is the epitome of all surgeries to me. At the end of every surgery, the neurosurgeon would pat me on the back (after he took off his bloody gloves of course) and say “thank you for being here, we couldn’t have done it without you, great job!” That always made me want to come back and do another day.
Name someone you admire and explain why.
Dr. Luken (a neurosurgeon). He taught me how patience and hard work pays off. His neurological surgeries used to take hours, but he had a very low infection rate. He also had a heart of gold. I enjoyed working with him and learning from him.
What was your most valuable life lesson?
Listen to your parents, you may eventually be just like them one day.
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because …”
I enjoy sharing knowledge with others about how to become the best surgical technologist and sterile processing technician one can be, and I enjoy working with a group of goal orientated colleagues.