Need info about Surg Tech

Specialties Operating Room


Hi my name is Brandi and I am currently a Med Tech student. I have been thinking about taking a year off and going into the Surgical Tech program so that I can work in the hospital while I go to school. I just want to know if the smells in the OR are really as bad as they say and if any one of you have ever gotten ill when you first started out and while you were in the OR?

Thank you for your time!


Brandi Greene

[This message has been edited by Brandi (edited March 23, 2000).]

I have been a CST for 7 years. I trained and started working there in Boise @ St. Al's. People do regularly get weak and require a little lay down time when they are in the OR. It is usually people just watching and not familiar with things. Probably has to do with not eating breakfast, the suffocation of wearing a mask, the new experience they're witnessing, and sometimes the smell. In most cases there is no smell. But sometimes on stuff like spinal surgery, two surgeons, each with their own monopolar will be dissecting and there definetely gets to be a strong aroma of charred tissue. It is usually no big deal. Occasionally, infection cases come along and you open an abscess site and frequently there is a strong odor. And generally bowel cases are pretty mundane, but you get something along the lines of an impaction case or bowel obstruction and the aroma can be a little overpowering. Most of the OR's I've worked in have little bottles of scented oils that you can rub inside your mask to help cover the smell. Most of the time though this just creates a smell of peppermint mixed with poop or puss. Not real pretty. Smelly cases are not a norm but they do occur.

Although taking a year off doesn't seem the wisest thing. Many times getting going again on something like that just does't happen. I went to ST program so that I had something that was marketable. Nine years later I still haven't finished my BS.

Hi, smile.gif

I am a nursing student doing my preceptorship in the OR. Of my 350 hours working in the OR, the most raunchiest smell I have encountered was the bone glue they use to connect hardware to bone! To breath that stuff in gives me a headache, and I need to leave the room. Unfortunately as a scrub tech or nurse, that is not possible. I will worry about that when the time arises. Another discusting smell is the smell of burnt tissue from the cauterizer. I did get used to that though.

What almost made me faint was nothing that affected my scent glands but my equilibrium (I guess). I was scrubbed in, looking at the TV screen (slave monitor)-the surgeon was doing a laparscopic procedure- I got MASSIVE SEA SICK! eek.gif Then I saw stars, my body started to tingle-as I was walking out of the room I started to see nothing but black, I was ready to fall but someone caught me.

My advice to you:

1.Always make sure you have a full stomach. wink.gif

2.Breath through your mouth as much as possible. tongue.gif

3. Do not put that peppermint junk on your nose it only makes it worse! rolleyes.gif

4. LEAVE if you feel faint-you collegues would rather you do so than fall on the patient! redface.gif

5. Above all, YOU WILL GET ADJUSTED! It just takes time..... biggrin.gif

Take care,


Specializes in OR.

The only time I have encountered bad smells is from infections. Debreading wounds, burns ect...that's why wintergreen is put on your mask and then you do not smell it.

Specializes in Surgery.


I am Tessa and I am a new nurse in the OR but have worked there as a student nurse tech for a year..The worst smelling thing I have smelled is a dead bowel...Also debridement of ulcers can smell bad too..I havent really got sick..I got sick to my stomach at something one time..Most of the people Ive known passing out usually havent had anything to eat..If you dont eat and are under the lights (it can get hot in there) it can make you sick..Plus Ive seen people on scope cases get sick watching a person who cant really handle the camera well..Kind of like motion sickness....That is about it...

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