I am Ada Ko from Hong Kong. I am a bachelor of nursing and a nursing officer working in the operating theatre of Queen Mary Hospital, which is a teaching hospital of the University of Hong Kong. I am engaged in the clinical practice using different laser systems in various specialties including head and neck, plastics, urology, ophthalmic and gynecology. There are seven laser machines in my workplace.
I started off exploring deeper into lasers when being given an opportunity to talk on laser safety to my fellow colleagues 15 years ago. Since then, I try to consolidate my knowledge on lasers by attending courses and reading literature because every time I prepare for a talk, I have to revise my power-point presentation so as to make it more interesting and resourceful.
I attended the Laser Safety Officer Course organized by the Australian Centre for Medical Laser Technology Inc. in 1994; the Medical Laser Safety Course organized by the Hospital Authority in 2001, 2006 and 2008 as well as the Intense Pulsed Light Certificate Course organized by the Hong Kong Surgical Laser Association in 2005.
The circle goes round and round, the more I talk on lasers, the more I want and need to know more. I was appointed as the Laser Safety Protection Supervisor leading the Laser Safety Workgroup in my department and began developing local rules, guidelines and inventory taking. I became a Certified Medical Laser Safety Officer granted by the Board of Laser Safety after taking the examination in 2008.
It is encouraging to become a LSO because my role is to ensure that everyone, both staff and patients, are secured when being exposed in a laser-safe environment. Laser accidents are devastating with permanent or even fatal injuries. In my workplace, we need a multi-disciplinary team approach to make laser safety happen.
It is promising to see that our practice can benchmark with the standards as recommended in the international guidelines. With the support from my department head and the Occupational Safety and Health section of the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong; together with the active participation of my Laser Safety Workgroup members, our local Medical Laser Safety Manual is revised, a training video in Chinese is shot and training courses are periodically conducted. Recently, we completed a translation project for the Laser Institute of America.
With the increased awareness of occupational safety, funding for adequate and proper protective equipment is seldom an issue for us. Today’s challenge of being a LSO lies on the fact that more and more sophisticated equipment is being used with lasers. For example, microscope, endoscope or indirect ophthalmoscope may be used to deliver the laser beam onto the target site. The LSO has to be familiar with the structures and mechanics of the equipment so as to safeguard laser safety.
Becoming a certified MLSO, I can get access to the LIA platform where there are plenty of learning opportunities and resources on laser safety. I can also appreciate the laser safety concerns in other fields as well. It enriches my laser experience which I can share with my healthcare colleagues. In addition, it is beneficial to my patients because I can continuously refine my care to them based on better knowledge.
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