myths/truths about OR nursing

  1. hi all...

    i have recently taken to the idea of OR nursing...i am still in school and basically just toying with ideas - but i really like the idea of OR nursing...

    anyhow, a friend of mine has a relative that works for a HUGE healthcare organization here in FL that owns many hospitals...

    so, this person (an administrator - not a nurse) told my friend that OR nursing is THE WORST specialty in the hospital - mainly because of how the Surgeons treat the nurses...

    i find this hard to believe - if you are prepared and competent...but maybe i'm naive (i mean i know that there are MDs that treat nurses like C&@% but is it rampant in the OR?)

    also, if you are an OR nurse, are you able to work night shifts/weekends? or are the shifts mainly weekdays?
  2. Visit beaRNwhenIgroUP profile page

    About beaRNwhenIgroUP

    Joined: Aug '02; Posts: 145


  3. by   openheartnurse
    I work in an OR and have since graduating nursing school...12 long years ago. I must be very lucky. The surgeons where I am are for the most part very nice. Of course there are the surgeons that will always be ass*****. and I have worked in other hospitals where the surgeons weren't so nice. but as for treatment of the nurses. I found they respect the OR nurse. sometimes more than the floor nurse who calls into the OR during a case to ask a stupid question about a patient. The OR nurse learns when to bother the surgeon.
    as for shifts. we staff 24/7 so there is always a nurse in the OR, the rest may just take call. on days you have more support people. and may learn a specialty...on evenings and nights you learn to do what ever comes thru the door.
    hope this helps.
  4. by   spineCNOR
    Surgeons, like anyone else, vary widely in personality.

    Some are very good to work with, are team players, and treat nurses with respect.

    BUT..many do not. Where I work the majority of surgeons are prima donnas who think that they are the center of the universe and typically treat the OR staff in a condescending, demeaning, belittleing manner.

    Many of these surgeons have poor coping skills and poor interpersonal skills-being prepared and competent is not a guarantee against being treated poorly by surgeons. So many things in the OR are beyond the control of the staff-equipment malfunctions, availability of a second room for the surgeons, delays because patient needs a medical workup or arrived late- yet surgeons tend to do the easiest thing, namely vent on the people closest to them-the staff in the room.
    Not only this, often surgeons don't plan or communicate appropriately, but whose fault is this-the staff in the room of course!

    Largely, it depends on the attitude of the hospital administration, and whether they choose to back their staff or not. Some hospitals will address inapproprite behavior with offending docs, but many do not as they don't want to offend the doctors who bring patients into the hospital.

    One thing in the OR that does wear thin over time-- how your day goes is dependent on the mood of another person. If the surgeon is in a good mood, you will have a good day. If the surgeon comes in with a bad mood, you will probably have a bad day.

    OR, like any other area, has its pluses and minuses. You have to balance one against the other, and decide what is right for you.

    Will you have the opportunity to do a preceptorship in your nursing program? If so, why not do your in an OR and see for yourself whether this is an area that would suit your or not?
  5. by   shodobe
    25 years of OR nursing and I think I have seen it all. All surgeons are different and you have to go with the flow and do your job to the best of your ability. I am lucky where I work and really have not had any problems with the surgeons. You have to extrude confidence in yourself and let them know up front that you WILL NOT let them roll over you. I have been yelled at in the past and learn from that and pretty much let it go in one ear and out the other. They will learn, most of them, that respect is earned and not a given because of title. Short tempers certainly do not work in the OR because a patient's life is at stake and most of the time you can't take it outside! Good luck, Mike
  6. by   beaRNwhenIgroUP
    spinecnor, i know in our senior year we will have an opportunity to do a preceptorship & i automatically assumed we got to pick our place, but i was talking to a senior and she said that a) there might not be an available slot in that area or b) the faculty may decide that my choice is not a "good match" and assign us somewhere else!

    i'm not too worried about available slots - as not one person in our class of 93 wants or nursing....

    anyhow, i will goto an or preceptor if i can
  7. by   stevierae
    Ditto for everything shodobe said.

    People will only treat you badly if you allow yourself to be treated badly or if you set yourself up for it.

    If you come into an operating room with the attitude that "this isn't my specialty" or "I have never done this type of case, I don't want to be here, and I don't want to learn" then, yes, you will probably get yelled at or hear how the surgeon does not want you in his room again.

    If you come in with a good attitude, then you quickly become a member of the team.

    I have always been lucky to work with great surgeons; only one or two in my day have had severe problems with their coping skills, usually because they were not good surgeons, but they were the exceptions. Those people just need to be made aware up front that you will not tolerate juvenile or abusive behaviour. You don't even have to bring management in to it; you can always solve the problem youself. You can always spot those types--they are incredibly nice in the lounge, but become Mr. Hydes at the O.R. table.

    Seriously, the major problems that I see in ORs today are with MANAGEMENT, not the surgeons--budget cuts on the part of people who don't actually DO the cases making it impossible to deliver quality patient care--i.e, lack of instrumentation, internal staplers, even such basics as sit-down stools and prep stands. Usually, the RNs, techs and docs are all on one side, with our mutual enemy, management, on the other.

    Don't ever let another person's bad mood dictate how your day will go. Do your 8 (or 12) hours, don't ever feel guilty about being unable (or simply not wanting) to stay overtime (and don't let them lay guilt trips on you about "what if that was YOUR mom (brother, dad, etc.") in there, or worse yet, stick you with having to stay over because you are young and don't have kids (as if you don't have a LIFE.) All that is managementspeak, designed to put the burden on YOU for their ineptness in staffing adequately. Let "staffing is not my problem" become your mantra in this situation, which I GUARANTEE you will come up.

    Leave the day behind when you change out of your scrubs and go home.

    Good luck!! Go in with a good attitude, be willing to learn, and you will do just fine.

    The best thing about the operating room is this: You learn to prioritize. Pretty soon, you will be running your life that way, too, as a series of priorities.