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That would somewhat depend on the trauma. I've worked trauma and I have to say that there are trauma cases, and then there are TRAUMA cases. The bottom line is that if the patient can't wait to come up in order to save their life, it seems like in the description you have above that they have a pretty good team in there to at least start a case.
I've seen trauma cases come to the OR with less staff than that, and people get themselves in there as fast as they can but it doesn't stop the case from moving forward. Without knowing the specifics of what you are describing, it's hard to say. I've also been in trauma cases where we have pulled staff from other units in order to help open supplies, run for blood, mix drugs, etc., until more OR staff can get in there.
How was there not an OR nurse available? What about the charge? My facility requires one RN and one ST be free to handle traumas at all times. Sometimes that RN is the charge, who will hand off the phone to either the secretary if one is there or a PACU nurse and run the trauma until a call RN arrives. Plus, we send someone down to the trauma room to scope things out, and we can be calling the call RN while the patient is in transport.
Not trauma, but many years ago in a smaller hospital I (the night supervisor with a lot of floor experience but no OR experience) had to be the circulating RN for stat c/sections until the on call OR circulator came in.
It scared me to death but I pulled up my big girl panties and did it.
I believe in an acute, stat, c/section or trauma don't stick to the protocols and policies, take care of the patient. Yes "my license was on the line." (especially the litigious area of OB nursing) but I don't regret doing it and would do it again.
Yes in the ideal world there is always a circulating RN available, or all L&D nurses would be trained to ciurculate, but when the real world gets in the way of the ideal world we have to deal with what is in front of us.