Having a problem "getting the hang of it"!

by joidaro joidaro (New) New

So I'm a new grad who works in an OR. No experience in the OR prior. We had 4 weeks of classroom training and then on to preceptorship. I'm on week 4 of preceptorship (3 scrubbing and 1 circulating). There is so much information and so much to remember. My preceptor is nice enough but I'm sure she thinks I'm an idiot. This is a career change and it's not my first job. I was an Administrator at a large College for over 15 years. I have several issues that are really bringing me down.....and I mean to tears! Everyday I just want to cry because:

Everyone is SOOOOO busy that they basically treat me like an after thought. My preceptor tries to teach me but we are under so much pressure to get the room ready that it doesnt leave much time to teach. They pick for the cases and are not including me in the process.

No one is interested in being friendly....my boss doesn't look at me or even say hello but is buddy buddy with everyone else. There are a few people who are nice but everyone is very removed and I'm clearly an outsider that will not be welcomed in. My boss said I would meet with her every Friday but this never has happened since the first week. She doesn't seem to have any interest in me or how I'm doing. This is starting to really irk me......I just don't get it.

I feel like I'm gonna just cry at any moment. I feel depressed and sad and hate going to work. I am thankful I'm wearing a mask so no one can see my whole face. I'm trying to be upbeat but I'm so miserable.

This plus all the MD have no patience for trainees and act line the hate me, I'm so sad.......



Has 5 years experience. 2 Posts

First off: *hugs* Secondly, the OR is a tough area of nursing to learn and we are all still constantly learning. I came to the OR from the Mental Health Unit and was overwelmed too during my orientation. My manager said to me that the OR attracts big personalities and she was right. There are a lot of personalities and a lot of circulators seem to struggle with relinquising control. That being said, do you have an OR nurse educator that you can speak to and even debrief with at the end of day? It can be helpful to do this with either your educator or preceptor because as you stated sometimes there is not enough time in the course of the day to answer all the questions that may arise.

Do you have access to Alexander's Care of the Patient During Surgery textbook? If so, it may be helpful for you to read up on your cases the day before to prep for them. I also send my orientees down to Central Sterile Services or CPD for several days to put instrument sets together and pull case carts. This helps familiarize new to the OR folk with the instrumentation (crucial for counts..) and what instrumentation will be needed for cases.

Keep asking to assist with picking cases, eventually they have to let you :) I found the more persistent I was to learn the more respect I got from my coworkers. Remember, you are not an idiot nor are you stupid. This is a COMPLETELY different environment than the academia that you are used to. You are learning a new specialty, meeting new people, establishing new working relationships, learning a new facility's procedures, and are a newer RN on top of that. You have a lot on your plate.

I'm here to help if you need any more advice or a shoulder to lean on! Hang in there, I promise you it will get easier!



1 Post

I feel the same way as joidaro. I am considering leaving my position. I started in a small OR and hated my boss. She was very abusive to the staff and unfortunately this caused a "trickle down effect" I have been a nurse for over 25 years with varied experience. I have worked in the OR for 18 months in this small hospital and now I have started a new position in a large teaching hospital because I wanted to learn. I have been told by my nurse educators that I am too slow. I need to "step it up" I have been in my new position for a couple of months. I am depressed, I feel stupid, and maybe I just can't do this. I have never failed at anything before. I do miss direct patient care. Any advice?



5 Posts

I too am a new OR nurse, well 8 months along... I have good and bad days. "Big personalities" are in every workplace, however when confidence is low it can really get you down! I empathize and know how you feel. It does get better, once the surgeon sees you do something well they are more likely to let you scrub again, so my advice is just keep on going, it does get better!! I've gone home and cried a few times but am sticking it out for at least a year to see if it's for me. Don't be afraid, to ask questions, to get involved and to learn new things. Best of luck, you can do it!!


Specializes in Peri-Op. Has 10 years experience. 1,221 Posts

Joidaro,Take a step back and chill out. No reason to freak out.

The OR is a more closed unit than any other unit and hat in turn makes it have tighter groups of people that don't take to "outsiders" or newbs very well. Even as an experienced OR person going into a new place you have a 3 month hazing period where most people dont bother with you.

OR sees huge turnovers for the most part compared to other areas so a lot of people figure why bother. It will end soon, unfortunately it takes a little longer for trainees, they don't like to put zoo much into someone that is just going to leave after they train them..... It does get old for some, I personally don't care either way and see it as part of my job....

Also, men and women vary hugely with their personalities on this work environment. 90% of women are jus brutal to their coworkers and eat them alive. 90% of guys are much more accepting of newbs and willing to assimilate them. I've worked in, managed and directed in the OR over the past 17 years and that's just my take on it. I always try to orient newbs with the right people, not whoever gets the rotation. Another thing, if your naturally an introvert try being.a little more friendly and extrovert, it helps with breaking ice. I am an introvert and have to get over that hump if I go somewhere new, it's hard.



14 Posts

Just starting in the OR myself...did it get any better for you?



Specializes in OR. Has 3 years experience. 118 Posts

For those of you who are new, one thing you need to keep in mind is that it takes a long time to get used to the OR. I was told when I was brand new that it would take at least a year before I really felt comfortable, and that was exactly right. Now I've got 4 years of experience, and even when I started a new job, I walked in there with confidence and wouldn't let those mean girls (who are everywhere) get me down. Every place is going to have them, and you just have to get used to it. Once they can see that you are doing a pretty good job, things will change. The longer you're there, the more they'll let you into the group.

Zviadina, I've worked in a teaching hospital and have trained people who have come from very small ORs and I was guilty of saying that these people were slow too. The thing is, where you trained is totally different from where you are now and it is going to take some time. They need to be willing to give you that time. From what I've seen, once the people were given enough time, they did very well. You can use your basic OR skills in every single case that you do. Once you get the specifics for every different case down, things should fall into place.