UVA Today is highlighting the winners of the 2011 Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Awards. Today: Steven B. Jones of the Medical Center's Urology Clinic. To see all of the stories, click here.
June 8, 2011 — Described as the "guru of lithotripsy," Steven B. Jones of the University of Virginia's Urology Clinic is known for putting patients at ease and helping out where needed.
He has worked as a lithotripter technician since 1986, almost as long as U.Va. has offered lithotripsy, a procedure that treats kidney, ureter and bladder stones by pulverizing them with shock waves while the patient is partially submerged in water.
His years of experience with lithotripsy have garnered him the title of "guru and father of lithotripsy," said supervisor Wendy Trout, who's worked with Jones for eight years.
His experience also makes him the go-to guy for more challenging patients, such as those with spina bifida, whose physical conditions make the procedure more difficult, Trout said. He is also somewhat of a "patient whisperer," able to calm down those "very anxious about the procedure," Trout said.
Jones treated one cancer patient for many years, and when he passed away, his family drove three hours to visit with Jones and thank him for the care he'd given, Trout recalled.
Jones' work isn't limited to the genito-urinary operating room, either. He's always willing to assist nurses in other areas with pre- and post-op needs, such as lifting patients.
He also brings co-workers food he's grown in his garden, and occasionally buys them lunch to build camaraderie. And he volunteers at places like Region Ten, working with people who have emotional and dependency problems.
To Jones, patients are the most rewarding part of his job. "I try to set their mind at ease," he said. "We're here to cure people, but at the very least we can ease their pain and suffering."
"What defines Steve, even more than his technical competence, is his patient-centric attitude," said Joe Cardella, director of finance and administration in urology. "I know that Steve values his patients, and whatever he can do to make their experience at U.Va. better, he pursues. We are all made better by the high standards he sets."
Jones, who works in West Complex, also known as "the old hospital" (which happens to be where he was born), said he enjoys his work.
"This institution, department, colleagues – all have treated me well. I hold myself to a high standard so that I can represent this place well 24-7, both here and out in the community," he said.
Trout shared a story that she said exemplifies this statement.
A collector of Civil War relics, Jones likes to scavenge antique shops and scans various properties with metal detectors for them. A local African-American family that allowed Jones to search its land for relics recently invited him to give a presentation on what he found. When he finished, he donated all of the relics – some of which were slave artifacts that predated the Civil War – to the family.