BLS Featured CMLSO: Judith Biggus
1. Who are you?
My name is Judith Biggus.
2. What is your educational background?
I studied nursing and received my degree from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
3. Where do you work?
I work at Cadence Health’s Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) in Winfield, Illinois. As a nurse in the operating room, I cover a variety of specialities including General, ENT, Plastics, Opthalmology, Orthopaedics, and Pediatric sub-specialties. I serve on the hospital’s Environment of Care Committee and the Perioperative Clinical Practice Committee. Additionally, I am the Chairperson for the Laser Safety Committee and responsible for all aspects of laser safety, including laser safety education for CDH staff using lasers.
4. When did you start working with lasers?/How long have you worked with lasers?
I started working with lasers in 1985 when, as the Gyne charge nurse, several physicians requested a CO2 laser. I attended my first laser seminar in Chicago in 1985 and then developed the hospital’s first laser safety policies and procedures.
5. How did you become the LSO? Tell us about your experiences.
Since the Gyne department exclusively used the CO2 laser, I was in charge of all laser cases. Through the years, I continued to be the point person and the role developed. In 1987 I was assigned the Laser Safety Officer position. With the exception of a few years, I have held that position. In 2008, I attended a MLSO course in Chicago and completed the CMLSO exam. I renewed my certification in 2011.
For the past 28 years, I have worked with lasers in the operating room. Our laser program has grown tremendously, especially within the last few years. We now have 12 different laser systems within Cadence Health, serving five different departments. My role has expanded over the years. I have taught an accredited laser safety course to operating room personnel as well as teaching initial laser safety courses to system departments who are just beginning to use lasers, outside the operating room. Additionally, I co-authored “CMLSO’s Best Practices in Medical Laser Safety” manual.
6. Do you like being the LSO?
I enjoy the challenge of my being a CMLSO. Working with lasers is exciting and fascinating. The new technology continues to stimulate the imagination. New procedures, techniques, and the latest in lasers have all added a new dimension to my position. And I am thoroughly enjoying this journey.
7. How has becoming certified helped/benefited you in your career?
As a nurse, my certification is recognized by the Nursing Council at Central DuPage Hospital as setting a high standard and expansion of nursing practice. The certification is also recognized within Cadence Health as an achievement in upholding high laser safety standards and professional practice. Meeting fellow CMLSOs has been a very special and beneficial experience during the past few years.