Completeness of Care
Operation Smile believes every child suffering from cleft lip or cleft palate deserves exceptional surgical care.
This vision inspires each of us at Operation Smile to continually strive for excellence for all patients – every child, every family. While our ultimate goal is to care for everyone living with untreated cleft conditions through safe, well-timed and effective surgery, how we work toward that end is as vital as the goal itself.
Reinforced by more than four decades of leadership in performing safe surgery in resource-limited environments, we know that a single surgical procedure is a small part of a larger, multitiered process that’s focused on the entire well-being of the patient. Our compassion for those we serve is put into action well before the surgeon makes the first incision and long after the final suture is closed. This commitment to the completeness of patient care doesn’t only ensure the best possible outcomes; it’s the right thing to do.
When children and their families arrive at a medical mission or one of our care centers, they’re met by caring and talented medical and nonmedical volunteers. Guided by our Medical Global Standards, our incredible nurses, plastic surgeons and anesthesiologists deliver surgical results consistent with the world’s finest hospitals. Biomedical technicians monitor sophisticated medical equipment. Child life specialists ease children's and their families’ fears leading up to surgery. Speech pathologists help improve patients’ ability to speak as they heal. The list goes on – each employing a specialized skill to aid in the healing process.
"In the settings we go into, we know that patients may not have access to the full compliment of these specialties, so we’ve always set the stage for excellence – never modeling mediocrity. By investing in bringing in the full cadre of specialties, local health systems take notice and will aspire toward exceptional patient care. We believe that anything less than excellence is unacceptable."
Dr. Bill Magee, Co-Founder and CEO of Operation Smile
By modeling this completeness of care in the low- and middle-income countries where we work, we are positively influencing the quality of care provided at hospitals long after the Operation Smile team has departed.
"In the settings we go into, we know that patients may not have access to the full compliment of these specialties, so we’ve always set the stage for excellence – never modeling mediocrity," said Dr. Bill Magee, Co-Founder and CEO of Operation Smile. "By investing in bringing in the full cadre of specialties, local health systems take notice and will aspire toward exceptional patient care. We believe that anything less than excellence is unacceptable."
Why go to these lengths? The answer is simple: our patients deserve it.
Medical and Nonmedical Volunteer Specialties
Anesthesia: Anesthesiologist/Pediatric Anesthesiologist/Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
The administration of anesthesia is a critical aspect of performing safe surgery – without it, none of our work would be possible. Our anesthesia providers deliver the highest level of care to a broad age range of patients from infancy to adulthood in varied environments across the globe. They work in harmony with the surgical and nursing teams to deliver anesthetic care and pain management.
Biomedical technicians ensure that we can bring state-of-the-art medical equipment to even the most rural and remote hospitals. Their responsibilities include guaranteeing the integrity of hospital infrastructure and systems. They assess, monitor and repair equipment supplied by both local foundations and Operation Smile Global Headquarters. Our biomedical technicians are essential in ensuring the safety of our patients and volunteers on surgical programs.
Psychosocial Care Providers
Our psychosocial volunteers are licensed professionals that provide psychosocial care and guide the patient and family through the surgical experience. They utilize their knowledge of child development to ease patient fears and anxieties by explaining and demonstrating every aspect of care. They facilitate therapeutic play and activities, working with parents, and act as the child’s and family’s advocate in the potentially confusing world of the hospital.
Our dentists focus on oral health, providing care to surgical and non-surgical patients. This may include extractions, creation of obturators and other strategies that improve intra-oral function, speech and aesthetics of our patients. Throughout the program, they also provide preventative and home care instructions to patients and their families.
Nursing: Pre/Post-Operative, Operating Room, Recovery Room
Our nurses provide patients with their professional skills and personal touch. They embody the compassionate and caring spirit of Operation Smile’s medical volunteer community. Their knowledge of pediatric principles and their diverse abilities ensure that every patient receives the exceptional care they deserve, every step of the way.
The majority of the patients we serve are children, so we rely on the knowledge and insight of pediatricians to interpret the entire health picture of each of our patients. The pediatrician’s input is critical to our pre-operative comprehensive health evaluations, which determine if children are healthy enough to receive surgery. They continue to care for patients after surgery and ensure families are prepared to take their child home.
Recovering from anesthesia is a critical period for our patients. The placement of PI/PACU physicians in the recovery room allows us to provide a safe environment for patients undergoing surgery. Recognition of potential complications and responding with life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills are essential to providing the best level of post-operative monitoring and care.
Our plastic surgeons are highly experienced in comprehensive cleft surgical care. They are charged with performing a diverse array of cleft lip and cleft palate procedures on an aggressive timeline and continually balance providing the best possible patient outcomes and serving as many patients as possible.
Speech Language Pathology
Our speech language pathologists have a wide range and depth of educational and clinical experiences in cleft and other craniofacial disorders. They partner with the medical team to provide insight into which types of procedures or nonsurgical options ensure the best speech outcome for every individual patient. They additionally work with patients and families on nutrition and general speech and language education.
Electronic Medical Records Specialist
Electronic medical records are kept not only for legal documentation, but to capture patients’ medical histories and current treatments to understand which future treatments are needed. These records also store information that can be used to identify areas of dire need, where access to safe surgery is lacking, which influences future programmatic activity.