Safety first. Wear biogel gloves as inner gloves to help prevent getting a latex allergy. Wear ortho gloves as outer gloves to decrease the odds of needle stick. Always pay attention to where the sharps are on the field. Surgeons will often put needles back on your mayo without saying "needle back" like they should.
When you put used needles into your needle book, put it in so the sharp tip is inside the foam. I've seen people put in the needles with the sharp tips stick out just waiting to stick someone.
Label ALL medications on the field. All basins and syringes should be labeled.
If someone scrubs
in during the middle of a case and wants a towel to dry his hands, don't touch the towel with your bloody gloves. Use a clean clamp to give the towel to him.
Here's a tip for gowning and gloving. Open the gloves packet so that the fingers of the gloves are pointing to you instead of pointing away from you. Then put your right hand over the right glove (which is on your left now.) Then you can lift it up and it will already be in the right position to glove.
If you use the masks with the built-in plastic visor, bend the visor down the middle before you put it on so it won't touch your face as much which leads to fogging. Tie the upper straps tight, but tie the lower straps very loose so your breath will come out the bottom instead of fogging your visor.
If you sweat a lot, wear a headband under your hairnet.
If your back table is totally set up before the patient comes in, help your circulator when the patient comes in and then scrub at the last second. Your circulator will appreciate it.
When setting up your back table, offer to count as soon as possible so your circulator will have one less thing to worry about.
When you need something from your circulator, say please. It's just common courtesy.
If your circulator wants to give you medication out of a glass ampule, ask for a filter needle. After you draw up the medication, remove the filter needle and put a regular needle on the syringe.
When a circulator gives you heparin, make sure he shows you the vial that the heparin came from. Heparin comes in many different concentrations so you want to make sure you are not giving an overdose. Patients have died this way.
Another pet peeve of mine. Do not gown off of the back table. Gown off a mayo stand or other table. Lots of scrub people gown off the back table which is incorrect because you are not supposed to reach over the back table with bare hands especially if they are wet.