BLS Featured CMLSO: Gregory Nightingale
1. Who are you?
My name is Greg Nightingale. I am a certified Bio-Med tech and the CMLSO at my current hospital who has been working in the healthcare field for a little over 42 years. My experience in lasers came about when I was working at a hospital in Anchorage in the mid 80’s and has grown from there.
2. What is your educational background?
I have an Associate’s degree in Electronics from Anchorage Community College and several classes in computer networking along with a few PLC classes. When I came to my current hospital, they asked if I wanted to be the LSO and I took the online class and then the Certification course and tested for that. Most of my experience now is through the daily happenings in the OR and an occasional trip to ILSC conferences, along with a trip back to my former employer in Portland to stay current in other lasers. Also I provide Laser and Electrical Safety in the ORs for the Northwest Anesthesia techs on a yearly basis, which requires me to remain current on both laser and electrical codes.
3. Where do you work?
Currently I work at Peacehealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington and have been here for over 8 years. My responsibilities here are to help the OR staff with their laser requirements and to make sure that all the safety equipment is there and functional. There are a few remote site clinics I go to check their lasers and help the staff there as well with safety issues.
4. When did you start working with lasers?/ How long have you worked with lasers?
My first involvement with lasers came back in the mid 80’s when I was in Anchorage and had to help investigate a fire in an endostat coupler. From there I started to study the various lasers and their uses.
5. How did you become the MLSO?
I guess I was the last one to a shop meeting at my current hospital and they all elected me to be it. No really I was asked by my director here, at the time, if I would be the LSO for the hospital and I said sure. From there I studied the online course work and passed it and then the certification test. It has been a learning experience ever since.
6. Do you like being the MLSO?/Challenges of “today’s” MLSO?
I like being asked questions about lasers and safety issues from the physicians and OR staff, not that they always listen to the answers. Our hospital here uses just 2 types of lasers and we have the safety issues to those pretty well taken care of. Once in a while there will be a rental laser come in and I have to go make sure that it is safe to use before the case gets scheduled. One challenge is to try and explain to some physicians why they can’t use a laser that is way out of tolerance and could result in patient or user injury.
7. How has becoming certified helped/benefited you in your career?
Well I was able to get new business cards with CMLSO behind my name at the hospital’s expense. With being the CMLSO for the hospital I have been asked several times to help with laser safety from clinics and small surgery centers around the area. Also it has afforded me the trips to the ILSC conferences held every 2 years throughout the USA and be able to meet up with some of the leaders in laser safety. This last November I was asked to take part in a telephone conference with some of my peers on laser safety and reviewing the certification test. It was an interesting time and can’t wait to meet those folks in person in Albuquerque this coming March.
So there you have it. Shouldn’t take up too much page space and it was fun to sit and think what it is I do or SUPPOSED to do. When I deal with people about laser safety I try to make it interesting to them and not just blurt out facts, that way they may remember more of it when it comes time to use the laser. When at my former hospital I used to drop in unannounced and see what they were doing and if there was a violation, I posted a page on the door with a picture of a sheriff saying, “You’re busted” and they then had to answer to the dean of their division and explain to them why they got this violation. Before too long there weren’t too many violations handed out.