People of the U: Keisha Prestwood
Published on Monday, January 31, 2022
By: Andrea Wright Dilworth, email@example.com
Editor's Note: People of the U is part of an ongoing series featuring UMMC's faculty, staff and students. See more People of the U features.
As the only surgical tech in the outpatient urology clinic at Select Specialty Hospital for over a year, Keisha Prestwood’s to-do list is about as long as is the day.
Doctors perform six to eight procedures a day, including vasectomies, circumcisions, prostate biopsies, and cystoscopies. And Prestwood’s hands play an integral role in each procedure, from prepping and sterilizing the room and equipment, to triaging, teaching and dressing patients before they go home.
“Working in urology requires hands-on work,” said Prestwood, a surgical tech of 21 years. “The best part of my job is taking care of the patients and the interaction with them. Most patients seen in urology have chronic conditions that require long-term care. We see them every three to six months or yearly. They become family, and it is an honor to take care of them.”
Raised in the tiny community of Cato in Rankin County, Prestwood and husband Landry live in a house they built there on 75 acres of family land, across the street from her parents and next door to her son. A mother to four, she enjoys spending free time with family, which includes a grandbaby.
“It may take me 45 minutes to get to work, but I absolutely love living in the country in peace and quiet, just taking in God’s masterpiece,” she said.
Prestwood always wanted to work in health care. She earned an associate’s degree in applied science and a certificate in surgical technology, both from Hinds Community College, and has spent her entire career at UMMC, at the main campus OR for four years, in plastic surgery for six, and at Grants Ferry for 10 years before moving to Select Specialty.
The job is challenging and requires attention to detail, she said, which keeps her on her toes. In addition to her already full schedule, she also travels as needed to other locations.
“I have worked the morning shift at one location and the afternoon at another,” she said. “I have been on my way to one location and had to turn around and go to another. I love the work I do and feel like it is such a privilege to make a difference in a patient’s life. It is all about patient care.”
Heather Ragsdale, RN care coordinator for the division of urology in the Department of Surgery, has worked with Prestwood six years and quickly learned that if she needed anything done in clinic, Prestwood was, and still is, her “go-to.”
“Keisha takes initiative and looks ahead at our schedules and brings up any potential problems,” said Ragsdale. “She's one of the hardest working women I know, and I'm so grateful that she's on our team.”
Prestwood said she simply treats people the way she’d want to be treated, “if this was my mom, dad, grandparent or family member, how I would want someone to take care of them even when no one is watching. I love to give and see people happy. To be able to brighten someone’s day brings me joy.”
Her co-workers are an extension of her family, she said. “I love the people I work with. They are like family to me, and I am very blessed and have learned a lot from them. We all work as a team to take care of the patients. You don’t always find that everywhere you work.”
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