Surgical techs Curtis Phelps, left, and Kristi Brooks pose for a photo in an operating room at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Brooks is the director of UAA’s surgical technology program. (Photo by Phil Hall / University of Alaska Anchorage)
When Jerica Masangcay was a young girl, she would watch as caregivers took care of her grandmother, who suffered from pressure ulcers caused by obesity, thyroid problems and diabetes.
“They made her feel loved, dressed her many wounds with the most delicate touch, made sure she was comfortable and that her dignity was always a priority,” Masangcay recounted. “From then, I always knew it was in my future to be able to provide excellent, compassionate care to those in need.”
Masangcay found work assisting elderly patients and, later, helping patients at Providence Transitional Care Center. She then helped patients who received open-heart surgery, stents and pacemakers before working in Providence’s emergency room.
“I first became interested in surgery, and becoming a surgical tech, after I had numerous patients who were post-coronary artery bypass graft,” she said. “I always wondered how the surgeon was able to take one artery or vein and attach it to another part of the heart, to make that heart pump and work as if it were brand new.”
Masangcay considered going to nursing school, or becoming a radiologist, but what she really wanted was a career that would enable her to see surgeries up close and in person, rather than just seeing them online.
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