Surgical Instrument Information

  1. I have just entered the field of operating room nursing and my head is spinning. Can anyone tell me a good site to find information on surgical instruments to help me???
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   spineCNOR
    I don't know of such a web site, though there may be one. There are books on surgical instrumentation--the educator in your OR or one of the managers should have one they could lend you.
    One thing done in my OR that is useful to new employees is to have new staff spend a day or so in the instrument room. For people new to the OR sometimes this is expanded to a week. If this is not done where you work you could request this.

    Quite honestly, the best way to learn names and uses of instruments is to work with them. Learning the OR does take a while--you need to be patient with yourself.

    Good luck!
  4. by   lenawa
    I recently took an O.R course and any textbooks or websites that i saw with names of instrumentation didn't help me that much. i found it much better just to practice with a partner asking for things and giving it to them, or by taking a few minutes by myself and coming up with memory tricks for them. before i knew it i knew the names and had forgotten the tricks. the important thing is just to get your hands on them. also, i found that many of the surgeons don't use the textbook names and names vary from OR to OR

    good luck!

    Lena
  5. by   bjsmsn
    Instrumentation is one of many parts of OR nursing. The more you work with the instrument and learn what each is used for it will become second nature. And, lenawa is right. I've got one surgeon who calls a fine, round tip vascular forcep a "bugger picker." This same surgeon calls vessel loops "rubber bands." And they may call the same instrument something different depending on what case they are doing. It takes a good strong 6 months to begin to feel comfortable in the OR. give yourself some time.
  6. by   cwazycwissyRN
    Nothing like touching them, and actually seeing what they are used for to help learn them. You may keep a notebook or something in your pocket to write a few down a day with little reminders of their uses. I carry my (OR bibles) three of them, with my little notes in them.
  7. by   stevierae
    Everyone is right that you will pick up the names really fast by working with them while scrubbed. The OR "bible" if you want one, is Alexander's Care of the Patient in Surgery. You can pick one up cheap, even a newer edition, on half.com. Keep in mind, though, what everybody told you--some of the names in the book are NOT the names they might use in your particualr operating room. For example: Kelly hemostats are often called Criles (or vice versa) tonsil clamps are often called "Schnitz;" Kochers are sometimes called Oschners. Within 6 weeks of working in YOUR OR, you will have the local terms down pat!
  8. by   sukisocks
    learn to walk before you run. We have several new scrub staff who are in the same boat. Your mentor should start with the smaller sets, checking the instruments before during and after procedure does help as well as setting them out and what their role is.

    Don't feel daunted no one would expect you to scrub for a large case until you are competent and comfortable to move on. If you learn fast Great, if it takes a while thats fine. Every area has different instruments, its best to start in General Surgery or Gynae or Day Care. have continued support until you are comfortable to go solo. Good practice comes from Good Mentors, if you are unhappy about things speak up, they can't mind read.

    Good Luck and Welcome to OR
  9. by   shodobe
    Over the years I have found that repetitive handling is the best. Learn by your mistakes. As stated above by stevierae(hello), all surgeons have their pet names for things. I fortunately buy all the instruments for the department and usually know the "correct" name. I use V.Mueller's catalog and it really helps. I am sure your department or CS has one to look at. Good luck and don't get frustrated over any of this. Mike
  10. by   stevierae
    Originally posted by rnmomof1
    I have just entered the field of operating room nursing and my head is spinning. Can anyone tell me a good site to find information on surgical instruments to help me???
    Gosh, this takes me back---I learned my instruments in Navy O.R. tech school, in 1975. We had to learn them before we were ever even allowed up in the O.R., and our classes were held in the cadaver lab, and we had an instrument quiz every single day. I had just turned 21; all my classmates (7 of us) were between 20 and 21--just kids.

    I can't tell you how many late nights we were in that damned cadaver lab, quizzing each other on all these (at the time) complicated instruments (they even made us learn the ortho and neuro instruments right away) and we would get spooked by the late night noises, our imaginations running wild, swearing those cadavers were actually zombies coming to get us, like in "Night of the Living Dead."

    One of our weekly duties as students was sprinkling those cadavers down with formalin. Some of them had been there for many years, and were unidentified and unclaimed street people.

    I don't think it will be quite like that for you, rnmomof1! Times have sure changed! (We did have fun, though!)

    When you DO finally get to scrub, make sure they assign someone to "backscrub" you until you are perfectly comfortable doing it on your own. He or she will help you learn the instruments and all the other little things that will make your life easier.
    Last edit by stevierae on Oct 12, '03
  11. by   yoga crna
    Try instrument catalogs. They have a wealth of information. See if you can borrow one and study it at home.
  12. by   Chrislynn2003
    Like others have said, just practicing and using the instruments is the way to learn. I have an instrument book, which is great, but it's not as good as using the instruments to learn what they are used for.
  13. by   Sarah, RNBScN
    Welcome,

    As the above post, all great suggestions.

    I have only been in the OR for the last couple of years...boy...I am still getting used to it.

    I myself, purchased a text called "Perioperative Nursing Principles and Practice, 2nd Ed by Susan S. Fairchild". I got it from the U of T bookstore. It is hard cover text very detailed and user friendly. I paid $89.95 for it plus tax and shipping (not included) in Canadian funds. It is endorsed by the AORN. The ISBN #: 0-316-25969-1

    Hope this helps. Just remember to absorb as much as you can. Hopefully they are giving you a great orientation to such a specialized area of nursing.

    Best of luck,

    Sarah

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