She’s the kind face behind the mask

IU Health University Hospital surgical technologist Seph Bruce doesn’t always get to show patients her face in the OR, but they know she is the kind face behind the mask.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

In some ways, Seph Bruce says she was always meant to be a caregiver.

The oldest child of five – she grew up helping raise her brothers and sisters. Later in life, she helped care for her grandmother, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and her grandfather diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.

“We’re all caregivers. It runs in the family. I feel like when you’re around those who need extra care, you find what you’re good at and what you love,” said Bruce.

Born in Valparaiso, she moved with her family to Kokomo when she was 14. She got her CNA certification in high school and afterward took classes at Ivy Tech. She knew she wanted to do something in the medical field but was not sure what that something was.

Five years ago when she married her husband Bryan and they moved to Indianapolis, she began working at IU Health as an operating room assistant and began training at Methodist Hospital as a surgical technologist.

She was recently chosen as “Preceptor of the Year” from both Ivy Tech and IU Health Methodist Surgical Technology.

“I absolutely love my role as a certified surgical technologist for IU Health University OR and being able to teach is an added bonus,” said Bruce. “It can be tense and unpredictable but it keeps me fresh and on my toes.”

In her role she helps prepare the OR with instrument placement, positioning the patient, and getting everything ready for the surgeons.

“It’s a job that requires us to have a good knowledge of the procedure and learn the background of the patients – do they have allergies, are they a bariatric patient, do they have a central line – we need to prepare for any conditions,” said Bruce.

Her area of specialty is gynecology – working in such procedures as hysterectomies and tubal ligations. She also works with oncologists performing complex procedures. She primarily works with gynecologic oncologists Dr. Sharon Robertson, Dr. Jeanne Schilder, and Dr. Kelly Kasper.

“Because of the mask I wear, the patients don’t always see my face, but I think they know when I am smiling with my eyes and can tell I’m a kind and reassuring face,” said Bryan. She relates how she was in a surgery with a patient who had a large tumor removed. The patient was from another country and was nervous.

“I saw a change come over her,” said Bruce. “She knew we were sensitive to her needs and we were there to make a difference in her life.”

More about Bruce:

  • Her mom was studying Greek mythology when she was born so her name “Seph” comes from the Greek name Persephone, a goddess of the underworld, springtime, flowers and vegetation.
  • Her hobbies are attending concerts, playing board games and hanging out with her Chihuahua Dachshund mix, “Mini.”
  • Some of her surgeries can be long. To help keep her on her feet, she wears compression socks for blood circulation in her legs, stays hydrated, and invests in a comfortable pair of shoes – sometimes with gel inserts.