While dentists, hygienists and dental assistants comprise a typical dental office, sometimes nurses are part of the provider team.
In fact, five registered nurses, four dental assistants and three surgical technicians are among the team alongside oral and maxillofacial surgeons who perform more complex dental procedures like biopsies for oral lesions, preparation for implants, wisdom teeth extraction, and other procedures done under deep sedation.
This all happens at Eastman Institute for Oral Health’s Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department (OMFS), located on AC4 in Strong Memorial Hospital.
As the department was growing under the new leadership of Dr. Antonia Kolokythas, Ivelisse Vicente, RN, was hired as the department’s first nurse manager.
As a former dental assistant, she was the perfect match for the position.
“I worked for many years helping with oral surgeries,” said Ive. “I really enjoyed working in the surgical environment and wanted to increase my skill set.”
(l to r) Kelly O'Neill, RN, Ivelisse Vicente, RN (Nurse Manager), Nichole Tuggles, RN, Alicia Lang, RN, Mary VanChieri, RN (Float Pool). Not pictured: Wayne Dennis, RN.
Thus began her steady course of education, training and professional advancement. After becoming a surgical technician, she earned an associate’s Nursing degree from the University of Puerto Rico.
She later earned her bachelor’s in Nursing from the University of Rochester in 2004 and her master’s in Nursing Administration from Roberts Wesleyan College four years later.
Her nursing career started at Strong Memorial Hospital 21 years ago. She worked in the operating room for the first 15 years and held a number of different positions. In 2012, she made her move to the Ambulatory building where she oversaw several ambulatory clinics before joining the OMFS team in 2017.
“What I enjoy the most is that I can step into many roles because of my background and experience,” said Ive, who oversees the dental assistants, surgical techs and registered nurses in the OMFS Department. “I’m familiar with the instrumentation and many of the procedures performed.”
The team works together to assess patients, prepare them for procedures, review medical histories, and triage patient calls. They also work closely with the dental team at Eastman Dental, who often refer patients who need more complex treatment from its urgent care clinic or other specialty departments.
“We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful team of talented, gifted and compassionate nurses in the Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic,” said Dr. Kolokythas, “who help us provide excellent care to our patients on a daily basis.”