Quote from careerchg
i’m fairly new to this site and this is my first post, but was drawn to it when my wife recently had cancer surgery. (she is currently cancer free!) i became very interested in all things having to do with her care. it actually started me thinking that i want to make a career change and maybe go into or nursing in some way, maybe a surg tech to start.
when i got to the point of asking medical providers about or procedures and how my wife was prepped and draped, i ran into the “dear in headlights stare” by almost everyone i’ve asked whose associated with her surgery (circulars, cnra, anesthesiologists, including her doc). the answers i got was anywhere from a blank stare, non-answers, to her doc who did give me an answer after some persistence. after a while, it became quite amusing to see the reactions. she so far has had 3 surgeries, so i’ve had a chance to ask many people at this point.
at a baby naming for my niece’s kid, i happened to speak with an audiologist that is in the or all the time working with the or teams to monitor nerves during surgery. he was the only one that ever actually said straight out: “yeah, leave your modesty at the door. almost all of our patients are naked at some point in the or. but it is just a part of the job.”
i would love to get some feedback that sheds light as to why there is this almost universal “cone of silence” about something that is necessary for the care and safety of the pt? why not just answer any questions matter-of-factly? at least for me, knowing was better than being given a non-answer.
maybe because for the average person, being naked in front of the or staff is "big deal," while for the or staff, it is just routine.
the or staff isn't looking at the person as "naked," but as a "patient."
the or staff has learned to see the patient as just another patient -- doesn't necessarily see the patient as "naked," while the staff is well-aware how important this kind of thing can be to a patient and family.
there are very few surgeries that can take place on a clothed patient (even if "clothed" means a hospital gown."). maybe some ent surgeries, but that is about it.
i (personally) have the same issues when it comes to my annual exam. while i feel some level of anxiety with the assistant, i do realize, on an intellectual level, that to him/her, it is "all in a days work." even though it does bother me. i have been asked in the past if it bothered me to have a male assist. i have always had to say "no," even though on a certain level, it did bother me. this is because i realize that it probabaly bothered him more than it did me, and if it didn't, well, then all was ok. he wasn't there to get "cheap thrills.:" i know this, and that is why i won't object to having a male assist.
(i still remember, as an rn student, that very kind patient that allowed me to be in the room for her pap smear. she was also there for birth contorl conseling. the cnm i was shodowing that day told the patient that she had a "very fertile cervix; don't go home and have sex without backup contraception!" -- the pateint wanted oral contracptive pills -- the midwife then asked her if it would be ok if i (the nursing student) looked to see what a fertile cervix looked like. i still remember her (the patient) laughing and saying it would be ok. she may have been modest/nervous, and i suspect she was, but she was ok with me looking as an educational experience. and i still remeber the look of a "fertile " cervix, and the educaitonal opportunity i got from that.)
so anyway, my point is that much of what is done in the or is invasive an violates modesty. however, the personel arn't oogling her body, or making jokes about it. which is what most lay people (though not all) seem to expect. so, there is a bit of "secrecy" about what goes on, to spare the patient's (and their family's ) emotions.
for your wife, they arn't talking about her being naked; yet, they fear that you (and other "lay" peoplei) will think this the case, so they try to "spare" you.
it isn't meant to hide anything.
(disclaimer: have never worked in the or in any capacity, but have worked with surgeons, mdas, and crnas in recovery and surgical icus.)