What was it like to be the first technician on the Program Committee?
I was first overcome with shock and amazement that I was selected. Then I felt, above all else, a great honor and privilege to be the first tech selected to the SGNA Program Committee. Then, as time went on and I started getting emails about my responsibilities, I began to wonder what I got myself into, and whether I was in over my head?!
When I looked up the distinguished committee members, I felt like I was a fish out of water. Then, as responsibilities began to come my way, my mindset adjusted to what I had to do and I said to myself, “I can do this.” Much was new to me and I had never participated in a conference call before, so I was a little anxious for the first call. I knew I just had to be myself.
I thought, ‘If they trust me, I should trust myself.’ I had been an in-room technician for 12 years when I was selected to be a member of the Program Committee, so it wasn’t like I didn’t have anything to offer. The other committee members made me feel welcome, part of the team and that they genuinely wanted my input. Once my comfort level set in, as the old saying goes – the rest is history. I have been a part of the Program Committee for three years and I wish I could have continued. It’s truly been a great three years.
Thanks again to everyone for making me feel part of the team.
Looking back, what’s your biggest accomplishment?
My single, biggest accomplishment was learning and subsequently developing and teaching the techniques to give external abdominal pressure during colonoscopy which assists the physician in reaching the cecum. The support I received from my colleagues at Mayo Clinic in Arizona was second to none.
What’s your favorite SGNA-related memory?
I was selected by Gastroenterology Nursing Journal as the Novice Writer of the Year in 2006. My paper, written with my colleagues Cindy Edgelow, CGRN, Dr. Tonia Young-Fadok and Dr. David Fleischer, was one of the first papers written that solely addressed abdominal pressure and the techniques that I had developed. It was truly an honor to be selected by a group of my peers in SGNA.
What advice would you offer members of SGNA seeking to get involved?
Do not think for a moment that you have nothing to offer! The smallest, simplest idea could change the whole GI world. What will your legacy be?
What’s the first thing you’ll do when you officially retire later this year?
I will take a step back and thank God for the best job I’ve ever had. I realize the well-seasoned (old!) must fade away to make room for the next generation with new, fresh outlooks. The job may be done for me, but the memories will never fade. Now, I will try my luck at fishing, deer hunting and spending time with my three grandkids and family. Maybe I’ll do some traveling without wondering if I can get time off!
About Jim Prechel, GTS
Jim Prechel, GTS, has been a GI technician for the past 14 years and has worked at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He has authored three papers on abdominal pressure during colonoscopy and has presented this topic at SGNA for the past 12 years.
Jim, in collaboration with his colleagues in Arizona, developed an educational DVD describing the techniques of abdominal pressure during colonoscopy. He has taught numerous classes at SGNA over the years, on topics such as tech training, RFA and teamwork. He was awarded Instructor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in 2008. He is passionate about his work as a GI tech, especially as it relates to teaching abdominal pressure. Jim has also been part of the SGNA Program Committee for the past three years.