From the Editor

This month we honor Vivian Watson, a beloved and well-known RN. At the AORN Surgical Expo next month, Vivian steps down from her role as AORN ombudsperson, a position she has held for 10 years, and celebrates the release of her book, A Passionate Journey. Read on for our exclusive interview.In honor of Vivian, our surgical topic this month is cleft palate surgery.And of course you will find information on jobs we’ve collected for you and our favorite practice resources.e5651521-0a79-4662-9408-c8f0e9d97393


Julie Lancaster, Editor

In the Spotlight: Vivian Watson, RN, CNOR

vivianVivian Watson, a 50+-year career nurse, has written about her life of perseverance in the face of obstacles in her new book, A Passionate Journey: Overcoming Adversity, Realizing a Dream.

Hear Vivian in person at the AORN Surgical Expo in Denver: she is giving the closing presentation at the conference on Wed., March 11, at 4:00 p.m., and her book signing will be on Tues., March 10, 9:30-11:30, in the AORN Bookstore. You can also order her book on her website.

Vivian talked with us from her home in Soso, Miss, sharing some highlights from her story and offering some advice for today’s nurses.

What was your first challenge?
I was born in the Deep South, during the Depression, with a cleft lip and cleft palate. Today we know that such a condition has to do with nutrition and genes, but it was different then. My parents were very smart but had little formal education. My mother remembered that when she was pregnant with me, she had seen a calf that had died in the barn and was deteriorating and awful; she had put her hand over her mouth. After I was born, she decided she must have “marked” me in that moment.

In those days, doctors would perform surgery on the cleft lip when the child was 5-6 months old, but wait to operate on the palate until the child was 5 years old. The first operation was done at Baptist Hospital in Jackson, Miss. But when time came for the palate repair, the surgeon who had performed the first surgery had been killed in an auto accident. My parents decided the doctor’s death was a sign from God that they should not proceed with the surgery.

Read more . . .

Video: Cleft Palate/Nasal Reconstruction Surgery

Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth abnormalities of the mouth and lip.

In the United States, nearly 6,800 babies are born with oral-facial clefts annually. Cleft lip and cleft palate occur early in pregnancy when the sides of the lip and the roof of the mouth do not fuse together as they should. A child can have cleft lip, cleft palate, or both.

This surgery was performed at Broward Health, Broward County, FL. See video.

Perioperative Puzzle: Cleft Palate Crossword
Cleft Lip and Palate Crossword Puzzle clues (1)Test your knowledge of cleft palate surgery with this month’s crossword puzzle.

When you’re ready to check your answers follow this link to see how well you did.  Good luck!


Operation Smile

Operation Smile is an international children’s medical charity that performs safe, effective cleft lip and cleft palate surgery, and delivers postoperative and ongoing medical therapies to children in low- and middle-income countries.

Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft. A child with a cleft has twice the odds of dying before their first birthday. Children with cleft conditions who survive may have difficulty eating, speaking, hearing or breathing properly. In some places, they are shunned and rejected. And in too many cases, their parents can’t afford the surgeries they need to live a productive life.

Operation Smile is more than a charity. It’s a mobilized force of international medical professionals and caring hearts. Operation Smile is a pioneer in advocating for the importance of safe surgery in resource poor environments and is the largest surgical charity of its kind, leading research into the causes of cleft lip and cleft palate, and its prevention, treatment and eradication.


iPad / iPhone Apps
Touch Surgery is the OR in your pocket. This app guides you through complex operations by breaking them down into their component steps. It includes a cleft palate repair, so try that and see how you do!

Job Front

Click here for the RNFA job postings we’ve collected for you this month.

NIFA Office Hours
Monday-Thursday 7:30am – 5:00pm (Fridays 7:30am – 4:00pm).