Quote from lockheart678
I found it really helpful to make a checklist of everything that needs to be done when first setting up the room in the morning and also from the time the patient gets to the room until the procedure has started. When you have the basics for every procedure down, it can be easier to focus on the things that are different about every case. Also, when you are in the more confusing surgeries, take the preference cards home where you can spend more time looking over them without any distractions.
You sound like you're doing great. I remember when I was just starting, I thought my preceptor was going to kill me because I felt like I was so stupid. It turns out though that she and everyone else I worked with saw my potential way before I did, and things really weren't as bad as I felt they were. Remember, there's a reason why orientation is so long in the OR. It can be very overwhelming at times, but keep asking those questions when something doesn't make sense and don't give up. Like it was said before, it probably does take around a year before you really feel comfortable with what you're doing. Stick with it and it'll get better and better every day.
This is awesome advice. It DOES take quite a while to learn everything there is to know about the OR, and just when you think you are pretty comfortable with everything, you learn even MORE! It is non-stop learning, which is why I love the OR so much.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed at first. When I see my students start to prioritize their care within the first month without freaking over the small stuff, I know that they will be wonderfully efficient OR nurses. I remember one nurse intern in particular that was very concerned about doing everything perfectly her first few days with me. When I ran through my expectations at the beginning of the day with her and then asked her what her learning needs were for the day, we agreed upon the things that we would focus on together. It is very important to break things down into small pieces when learning the OR. They will eventually merge together and make sense.
If you will allow me to rant about a few pet peeves of mine when teaching students, hopefully you can avoid some pitfalls:
I understand that the OR is scary. I will never leave a student to flounder around. I have witnessed some nurses that actually enjoy seeing students flounder and fall. It is disgusting. If your preceptor does not set expectations for you, then you must be assertive and ask them what their expectations are. I expect students to ask questions and I will provide as complete an answer as I can. If further clarification is needed, I will take extra time to go over the confusing parts. I HATE it when students believe that they know something, do not ask, but rather bulldoze through something that leads to a mistake in which an inordinate amount of time is then needed to fix the mistake. For example, I was showing a student how to open a pack on the backtable. He said, "Jesus, I know how to open a pack! You open the tab away from you like this, then the side tabs like this and then the one closest to you goes down like this," as he promptly bent down and hit his mask on the edge of the sterile table in his fervor to show me "how easy it is". Needless to say, we had to break the entire table down and start over, much to the displeasure of the impatient surgeon.
Along those same lines, I also expect a student to deliver when they tell me that they know what their priorities are. We review these together at the beginning of the day. When I was teaching a new staff member that she should never leave the pt's side during induction and emergence, her response was, "I know that!". Well, guess what she was doing during induction? Charting. Yes, CHARTING!
If I can see that my students are terrified, I will prompt them as to concerns that they have. Some are willing to talk about their fears, others believe that they should put on their "game face" and not vocalize concerns regarding their abilities. WRONG! When you are just starting out in the OR, you must be able to trust either your preceptor or your nurse educator and discuss fears before they get out of control. I had one nurse intern look at me one day misty eyed. I thought she was doing a great job, but she was being entirely too hard on herself. I took her into the locker room and she UNLOADED. She said that she felt like Rainman and that she would never learn all of the stuff she needed to learn. She told me that she was debating about quitting the internship. I told her that she was doing all the right things, and provided factual examples of such. Only 6 months later, she was a primary preceptor.
Shuubie, I think that you will do fine. You are asking the right questions and you are getting some great advice here. Write down specific questions that you have during a case and research the answer. If you need further help, don't hesitate to ask your nurse educator or come back to this forum and ask us.
I am proud of you!