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On my own?

Operating Room   (1,538 Views 11 Comments)
by luckyduck7 luckyduck7 (Member)

luckyduck7 has 4 years experience and specializes in geriatrics, adult, medsurg, postop.

1,268 Profile Views; 21 Posts

I will be on my own Tuesday as a circulator. I am scared beyond belief. The reason I'm so scared is because I will be the only circulator on second shift, essentially, I'll be the charge nurse. I trained on days, but 3-11 is so different! I know I'll have my Crna and my scrub and S.A. to help me, but they're going to be scrubbed into the cases and there are some things that only other circulators can truly help with and I'm worried that my patient's care will suffer because I don't know enough yet.

Do any of you seasoned (or not so seasoned ) circulators out there recall what it was like when you first went out on your own? Any stories, good or bad, are welcome to help me on my way.

Also, are there any of you out there who think it's a bad idea to put a newbie on a shift without any circulators to back them up? Just curious.

Thank you all for any replies you might send. I value any opinions as long as they can help me be a better circulator.

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TracyB,RN has 14 years experience as a RN and specializes in jack of all trades, master of none.

646 Posts; 7,733 Profile Views

Ahhh, I'm sure you'll be fine. Hopefully, you've had plenty of time to work the PM shift, so you are familiar with it. Are you in a level 1 trauma center? If so, I would ask for more time on PM orientation. That would be a bit intense without any back up.

How long have you been in the OR?

Ooh, funny story...

First night I worked midnight shift, never charge before (without back-up on day shift) I get a Trauma page on the pager. Some patient basically lost their eye. I was FREAKED OUT!!! ME, the nurse with hardly any eye experience & this is my first flippin Trauma?!?! I wanted to throw up!!!

I called my call team in wayyyy too early b/c I was so panicked I didn't think to ask the surgeon how long it would take for him to get there. He was like 2.5hrs away. Sooo, l learned that really valuable lesson... Always ask the doc his ETA...

And always have the rooms stocked, check your emergency case carts.

If you're like me, the one time you DON'T stock a room, or don't double check your emergency carts to make sure all the trays are there, you'll need it.

I'm sure you'll do quite well.

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inspir8tion specializes in OR.

159 Posts; 3,752 Profile Views

I think if you've circulated on days by yourself for a while, you will probably do ok. I also think that you should have support and not be the only circulator on your shift. That's crazy. I work in a trauma I facility and had 3 emergency cases tonight, plus the other cases that were going on. We could never get away with only one circulator. They won't do a room w/o a team.

Definitely make sure your room is stocked like TracyB, RN says. Bring extras of everything so you don't have to run out of the room too much. If you do have to run out of the room to get something, bring back twice as many as you think you'll need. Make sure you've pulled all your paperwork (we're still on paper, disregard if you are on computers), including for blood gases, T&C, and pathology. If you have paperwork, start filling in the stuff that never changes, along w/ the date to get a leg up on that.

Be assertive, there is only one of you and you can only do so many things at the same time. Prioritize what you'll be asked so you know what order to do things in. Ask for help. The CRNA could tie the surgeon's gown. The scrub can help you transfer the pt at the end, etc.

Bring snacks so you can eat quick between cases if you have to.

Remember, the pt is the priority.

Good luck!

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luckyduck7 has 4 years experience and specializes in geriatrics, adult, medsurg, postop.

21 Posts; 1,268 Profile Views

Thank you both for taking the time to reply. It's good to hear from nurses that have been there. My hospital is not a trauma one, it's a small community hospital. We probably don't get the emergency cases you get, but we can still get fractures, emergency bowel cases, and the occasional AAA (god forbid). Maybe that's why it's just one team on evenings.

I had 3 mos. training on days. I am just starting to feel confident in some rooms when they switched me to evenings and I will have a total of 5 days training on that shift. Personally, I wish I could have more, but my boss doesn't agree. It's sink or swim, and I will find out which it will be come Tuesday!!!!

Thanks once again for answering my questions! It's people like you that make this site so wonderful.

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inspir8tion specializes in OR.

159 Posts; 3,752 Profile Views

You're welcome. Let us know how it goes.

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GadgetRN71 has 10 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Operating Room.

1 Article; 1,820 Posts; 13,886 Profile Views

Thank you both for taking the time to reply. It's good to hear from nurses that have been there. My hospital is not a trauma one, it's a small community hospital. We probably don't get the emergency cases you get, but we can still get fractures, emergency bowel cases, and the occasional AAA (god forbid). Maybe that's why it's just one team on evenings.

I had 3 mos. training on days. I am just starting to feel confident in some rooms when they switched me to evenings and I will have a total of 5 days training on that shift. Personally, I wish I could have more, but my boss doesn't agree. It's sink or swim, and I will find out which it will be come Tuesday!!!!

Thanks once again for answering my questions! It's people like you that make this site so wonderful.

I was feeling your pain a few weeks ago-I graduated last year, trained on days for 7 months, and went to evening shift. Recently, they've put me in charge and boy, was I a wreck. I learned that you have to be able to prioritize and working well with anesthesia is a must-they can make or break you, especially when you're trying to get cases done. I also did evenings as a tech at another hospital and it was also just me and an RN. Teamwork is the key and if you have to mop a floor or help out C.S. then so be it... I think you will do a great job! P.S. Is there someone you would feel comfortable calling for questions or support? Some of the more established nurses did this for me and it was a godsend.

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TracyB,RN has 14 years experience as a RN and specializes in jack of all trades, master of none.

646 Posts; 7,733 Profile Views

I lIke the idea about getting a phone # for someone to call as back up..

Hopefully, they will at least do that for ya'.

Obviously your powers that be (PTB) feel confident in your skills, otherwise, they wouldn't be setting you free to float on your own.

You'll do great. Keep a little notebook of things that you need to do: checking the crash cart, logging any equipment testing that needs to be done, any paperwork that needs to be completed as charge nurse. It may help to keep phone/ pagers #'s in your little notebook of people that you may need to contact... ex: house sup, your manager, educator, even the team leaders, in case you need to ask a question.

Keep us posted & good luck : )

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heather2084 has 9 years experience and specializes in Surgery, Ob/Gyn.

101 Posts; 2,968 Profile Views

i just graduated in december and started in OR in january. I'm on my own now, and I'll tell you about my first case alone. I had been working with another nurse that day, but they needed someone to do a lap appy, and needed someone for another case. I had done some lap cases, not an appy yet, but when they said hey we're going to pull your nurse for something else, will you be ok doing this one, i had a mini panic. then i said sure, fine, and did the case without any probs. I just relied on what I knew, and the rest of my team helped me out with anything I was forgetting. They were great. Before then I kinda knew i was getting ready to be on my own, and I think it made it easier being thrown into it like that instead of having time to think about it.

Try not to worry too much, and rely on your team. they are there to help you and may know a little more than you think - especially the crna. have a number to call another circulator for back up as suggested. Honestly, you'll most likely do just fine. :)

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TracyB,RN has 14 years experience as a RN and specializes in jack of all trades, master of none.

646 Posts; 7,733 Profile Views

Just wondering how it went for ya'

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luckyduck7 has 4 years experience and specializes in geriatrics, adult, medsurg, postop.

21 Posts; 1,268 Profile Views

Thanks for asking, Tracy. It went better than I thought. There were a few telephone issues that I wasn't sure how to deal with, but my scrub nurse was very helpful. I guess a lot of it is "learn as you go", but I'm still scared!!! I wonder when that goes away? I hope that in a few months, it all just kinda falls into place. Thanks again for all of the support you all have offered. I'll keep ya posted if anything adventurous happens!

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inspir8tion specializes in OR.

159 Posts; 3,752 Profile Views

I am glad it worked out :balloons:

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