Tell us about yourself

I am Chris Dissinger, CBET, CMLSO. I started as a Biomedical Technician in the US Army back in 1980. I received my AAS Biomedical degree from Regis University (formerly Regis College) in 1986, and became a Certified Biomedical Technician (CBET) in 1994.

I moved into a manager role in 2003 overseeing seven technicians. Now I have a dual role of being a technical analyst (2008) for the biomedical department and the Laser Safety Officer (2010) for Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina. Our health system comprises of six hospitals, four surgery centers, an outlying emergency department, hundreds of clinics, in a five county area.

I enjoy biking, hiking, and being outdoors with my dog. My passion is learning Spanish, and my goal is to retire and live “la vida” in Mexico.

How did you become LSO?

In 2010, I was asked if I wanted to assume the role of Laser Safety Officer for the health system. Having no experience with lasers, I was reluctant to take on this role but accepted it as a challenge and a way to develop professionally.

Do you like being a CMLSO?

I really enjoy it, because we have a great team here at Cone Health. We have had some major challenges, but also some major improvements in the program. We currently oversee 45 lasers in 17 sites. I have been blessed with an incredible support team. Mark Pflug is the Deputy Laser Safety Officer. He is certified as a CLSO and CMLSO, and is our Radiation Safety Officer, Magnetic Resonance Safety Officer, and Environmental Safety Officer for the health system. He is a resource with a wealth of experience and information. Jennifer Fencle, Clinical Support Nurse, has been instrumental in developing the continuing education program for laser operators and a resource for me for clinical questions. I have a knowledgeable and committed laser safety committee, which is comprised of laser safety site contacts (LSSCs) from each site plus representatives from non-clinical areas. Medical Staff services has been very supportive with the physician laser privileging. The executive leadership for Operative Services have been very supportive in continuing laser safety education. We just had LIA (Leslie Pollard) give a two-day “hands on” laser safety class for laser personnel in the operating rooms system wide. I cannot leave out or forget my director, Trey Everette, who has supported me with continuing education and helping me navigate the political arena. Laser Safety is a team effort, and truly does not reside on one person.

Has becoming certified helped you in your career?

When I was handed the baton, I truly felt unprepared to take on this role. I didn’t know ANSI standards or how to run a laser safety program. Determined to be able to “talk the talk” and develop a successful program, I immersed myself in ANSI standards and took the MLSO course taught by LIA instructor Vangie Dennis. It has helped me incredibly to meet the day-to-day challenges that are presented and has given me the confidence to know I am on the right track. I have always been a true believer in certification, because it helps you become “well rounded” and educated on all aspects of your field. The fact that you have to have continuing education to maintain your certification, keeps you sharp and up to date on the latest changes to the field. It also gives you credibility when talking with other professionals.