ORLANDO, FL, November 26, 2012 — As the health industry continues to seek more effective and efficient delivery of care, the CO2 laser plays a vital therapeutic role. From the hospital operating room to the private aesthetics practice, lasers are indispensable— and properly trained users are more in demand than ever.
The Laser Institute of America, the recognized leader in laser safety resources since 1968, makes using the CO2 laser easier than ever with its online “CO2 Medical Laser Safety Training” course. Not only does the easy-to-follow Internet-based course allow learning anytime, anywhere, it earns registered nurses two contact hours upon completion.
“The CO2 laser is one of the most commonly utilized lasers in the operating room,” says instructor Vangie Dennis, RN, BSN, CNOR, CMLSO, administrative director for the Spivey Station Surgery Center outside Atlanta. “Because of its precision delivery, the more popular applications are ear, nose and throat, and gynecological.”
The course is geared to train all sorts of medical personnel, including perioperative staff like circulating nurses or surgical scrub techs, and covers the biophysics for the CO2 laser, what standards apply, and what operational skills are required for different delivery systems.
“The majority of the participants are usually OR nurses, but over the past several years I have had radiation safety officers, biomedical engineers, laser rental technicians and physicians,” Dennis notes.
With this course and the recently updated medical laser standard ANSI Z136.3 Safe Use of Lasers in Health Care, LIA is ensuring that safety education keeps pace with the rapid adoption of lasers outside highly regulated medical environments — including instruction in home use and use of rented lasers.
“My objectives are for attendees to understand the necessity of tissue interaction, as it is directly correlated to safety in the operating room,” Dennis explains. “They should know the safety hazards as well as the regulatory rules and recommendations for lasers. The objective is to be laser safe, not laser proficient.”
The CO2 laser is heavily used for ablation of tissue and coagulation because “it’s a good workhorse laser system,” says LIA Education Director Gus Anibarro. “Through an articulated arm, the beam can be delivered using various attachments, such as a micromanipulator. Medical personnel can deliver more power in this particular laser, and now there’s even a fiber delivery system for the CO2.”
Those who take the online CO2 safety course will learn about challenges encountered in using such systems. For instance, since the CO2 laser is in the far infrared part of the spectrum, the beam cannot be seen. But its versatility means more medical facilities will need to train more personnel to use such systems, which can be attached to laryngoscopes, laparoscopes or bronchoscopes, for example.
“If you want wavelength-specific laser safety training on the CO2 laser, this is the course to take,” Anibarro notes. “It serves as a good training tool for people who are working with the CO2 laser for the first time,” especially in high-turnover environments. Whether personnel work at a large hospital or surgical center, a beauty school, or even in the case of one attendee, a spa in Venezuela, LIA’s online CO2 course is a powerful and convenient tool for getting up to speed quickly on a schedule that works best for the user.
The $95 course ($75 for LIA members) takes about one-and-a-half to two hours to complete; those who sign up have unlimited access to the course for three consecutive days. A printable certificate at the end of the course verifies completion. Visit www.lia.org/store/TRAIN/CO2ONLINE to register.