The COVID-19 shutdowns last year were not enough to deter Lauren Feltz from doing the international mission work she loves.

For the intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) technologist, pursuing her passion just had the added challenge of being remote.

“I have been on a number of mission trips with a number of groups and I always enjoy them,” Feltz said in a recent interview. “It’s always eye opening to see what other countries have — or don’t have — available to them and the amazing endurance they have to get neuromonitoring in their operating rooms.”

Feltz and her husband (an audiologist also in the IONM field) co-founded IntraOp Solutions, a company that provides short-term neuromonitoring for hospitals across the U.S. They both have a passion for taking their knowledge base abroad.  

Turning Attentions South

Last year, thanks to the deferment of elective procedures, work for Feltz slowed considerably. So, she reached out to the World Pediatric Project to see if they needed any help. She chose that organization specifically because her husband had been on a mission with it previously and loves the group.

That was when she learned about a program it was developing to help bring neuromonitoring to the Ruth Paz Hospital in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The World Pediatric Project has been working for years in Honduras, bringing in surgeons and doing neuromonitoring. This time, they wanted to help the people at Ruth Paz develop their own independent scoliosis surgery and neuromonitoring department.

“That’s always something great to strive for, because if they become independent, they can help the community at a greater rate than we can just going on yearly missions,” Feltz said.

To do this, the hospital staff would need training and the facility would need equipment. Feltz, it turned out, was just the person they needed to help coordinate such a project.

Remote Training for IONM Techs

Feltz connected with Jennifer Legler, CEO of Trusted Neurodiagnostics Academy, a company that provides online training in neuromonitoring, whom she had met on an earlier mission trip to Chile. Legler agreed to donate the online training materials for the Ruth Paz staff.

Next, Feltz needed to get neuromonitoring essentials to the Honduras hospital. Through her connections, she helped secure tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of donated equipment.

It’s just a matter of time to get the staff at Ruth Paz trained and an implementation trip coordinated, Feltz said. Hopefully it will happen soon as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Doing this work is a privilege and brings a fresh career perspective, Feltz added. She encourages other techs to try mission work for themselves — even if you can’t travel, there is a lot you can do from here.

Special thanks to Lauren Feltz, CNIM, CAA, MHSc, owner of IntraOp Solutions, a neuromonitoring company that provides short-term service for groups that do neuromonitoring. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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