05 Jul 2017

Meet the Team: Introducing… Our Anaesthetists

At Chris O’Brien Lifehouse our team is made up of a number of skilled and experienced people. In this edition of our newsletter we’re shining the light on… our anaesthetists, Ryan and Chao, and the importance of their role in your cancer treatment.

What’s the role of an anaesthetist working with a breast oncology surgeon?

Chao: As part of the perioperative team, we provide a safe environment for the patient, and work hard to alleviate any anxiety or worries they may have about the surgery.
Ryan: Most patients will probably see an anaesthetist prior to their surgery to determine their fitness for the procedure, and to identify any existing medical conditions they may have. Patients then see an anaesthetist for a short period before they go to sleep and after they wake up. Most of my time is spent taking care of patients in the interim, making sure they are safe and sound during the entire procedure. We form careful plans in consultation with patients on their postoperative pain management.

How do you help our patients?
Chao: I aim to help remove the stress patients may feel about their surgery and provide the best anaesthetic possible for their procedure. As anaesthetists we assess every patient carefully and formulate the best anaesthetic plan possible, including post-operative pain management. We look after our patients carefully from head to toe for the entire duration of their surgery, which in complex reconstructive cases can take several hours and require meticulous attention to detail. Also, in the unlikely event of a crisis, we are there to assess and manage any issues that may arise from the surgery or the anaesthetic itself.
Ryan: I have a particular interest in regional anaesthesia. This involves injection of local anaesthetic around nerve bundles using an ultrasound machine to reduce the severity of postoperative pain.

What’s the best part about your job?
Chao: The best part about my job is working within a team environment with highly skilled professionals to provide optimal outcomes for patients. Also to be able to utilise the advanced technology we have at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to assist us in providing the best anaesthetic care possible to our patients.
Ryan: There are lots of things I like about my job! It’s technically and intellectually challenging – but it’s nice to go home after a day of work feeling like I’ve made a difference during a stressful time in a patient’s life.

What keeps you going at work?
Chao: The nature of the work is challenging and hence extremely interesting and rewarding, and I gain great satisfaction and pleasure to know that I can help people in a positive way with the skills I have.
Ryan: My enjoyment of a job well done keeps me going at work! I also enjoy the company of the great team. Plus a large cappuccino in the mornings certainly helps!

Outside of work, what do you do for fun?
Chao: I like to keep fit playing squash and surfing, and hanging out with my family (getting bossed around by my daughter).
Ryan: Outside of work I enjoy the company of my family. I have an eight-week-old baby who has just started to laugh which keeps me entertained. I’m also a keen cyclist and runner, and I do the Noosa triathlon every year. Patients will occasionally see me in clinic with goggle marks on my face from the pool… sorry about that! When the NSW Waratahs Rugby team is playing well, I enjoy that too!