Students considering health care career experience live surgery with Chest Watch

August 10, 2016

chestwatchStudents interested in entering the health care industry were given the rare opportunity to attend Chest Watch on Friday, July 22, at the Providence Cancer Center amphitheater. The event was organized by Providence School Outreach Program.  

The program has been putting on surgical viewings for more than ten years, exposing over 4,500 attendees to the medical industry. Other viewings also include Brain Watch and Ortho Watch.  

“I know of past students who have chosen their careers, such as an EMT or physician, after watching Chest Watch,” says John Handy Jr.,M.D., Providence Thoracic Surgery Program medical director and lead surgeon for the viewing. 

The audience viewed the live surgery in real time from the amphitheater. This particular event exposed students to the dangers of smoking while they learned about different medical careers, the research and science behind immunotherapy, and the process of diagnosing and surgically treating lung cancer. 

Beth Gately, RN, Providence Portland Medical Center Surgical Services, served as the commentator during the surgery. “I’ve been speaking at Chest Watch for four years now and love it,” Beth says. “Surgical viewings give perspective on how many people are in involved in the patients care before, during, and after.”  

chestwatchbethRight, Beth Gately, presents during the four-hour procedure in the Providence Cancer Center amphitheater. 

Dr. Handy performed a thoracoscopic upper right lobectomy while simultaneously answering questions from students. Together Dr. Handy and Beth explained the techniques that students watched during the live surgery. 

The audience members were able to see great teamwork among the operating room caregivers who were involved in the surgery with Dr. Handy. With this particular procedure, the team included an anesthesiologist, circulating nurse, physician assistant and surgical technologist. 

Before and during the surgical viewing, students were able to familiarize themselves with the tools used in the procedure. They viewed a variety of staplers, laparoscopic tools, forceps, bandage dressings, and surgical drapes. 


Above left and center, Marisol Hairston, a medical representative with equipment vendor Medtronic, shows students the various tools that will be used during the surgery. Above right, are tools students passed around as Dr. Handy utilized identical ones in the operating room. 

Students also had the opportunity to hear from different medical professionals from Providence including Tyler Huelett, a cancer researcher; Meera Jain, M.D., a general internist; June Olson, M.D., from pathology; Karen Wegner, patient advocate for oncology; and Heather Ahlf, a physician assistant.  

“I appreciated that Chest Watch outlined all the different roles and professions who work in the medical industry,” says Tolu Oyetunde, a school intern from the School Outreach Program. “Chest Watch made me proud that I went into public health, and it showed me the importance of prevention.”