Growing up, Boone Hospital Center surgical technologist Jenna Langley knew what she wanted to do for a career. Her father had been a surgical tech while enlisted in the Army, and when Jenna looked into the occupation, she says, "I thought it was really cool."
Working in an operating room isn't for everyone, but Jenna sensed it was right for her. She says, laughing, "I loved horror movies as a kid, and I liked anatomy class in high school, so I fit right in!"
After graduating from her surgical tech program and working at hospitals and surgery centers in Kansas and Moberly, Mo., Jenna moved to Columbia and joined Boone Hospital Center in July 2000, where she found a home in the OR.
Jenna currently assists physicians with robotic, gynecological and plastic surgeries, setting up the OR, ensuring supplies are sterile, and assisting doctors during procedures, passing instruments or holding retractors.
"Attention to detail is important in this role," she says. "Someone's life is in your hands, and you want them to have a good outcome. I've been a patient here many times, so I've been on the giving and receiving end of the care. You go in there, and you do the best you can."
Jenna is active in her department's Unit Practice Council. She also teaches new employees and student surgical techs, sharing her knowledge and experience. Jenna says she enjoys teaching because, "I want to see everyone succeed. Even if new employees have prior experience, I help them figure out where all of our stuff is and how our doctors like to do things. I enjoy watching people evolve."
Jenna enjoys a close relationship with her team, including the physicians. She says, "It's like a big family. You love each other, you help each other, and you all want what's best for the patients."
She also loves Boone Hospital's family atmosphere: "Boone has always treated me well, and I have no plans to leave!"
After 19 years at Boone and 25 years of being a surgical tech, Jenna has long lost count of how many surgeries she's assisted, but says she averages about 15 a week. She enjoys the steady pace in the OR. During her career, she's kept up with many changes in surgical technology, including more minimally invasive and robotic procedures that improve patient outcomes and recovery.
Jenna's excellent skills and positive attitude have been recognized by her OR team, which named her their department employee of the month for February 2019.
"Jenna is an excellent communicator, supports the department by being on the Unit Practice Council, and really takes pride and ownership in her job duties," her nominator writes. "She always puts the patients first. I personally feel blessed to have her as a coworker, and our department is all that much better for her presence."
When Jenna isn't assisting with surgeries, she enjoys reading and sewing. She quilts and makes OR caps, which she sells to fund her vacations. She lives with her husband of nearly 20 years and their two dogs.