OR nursing is about more than skills. Someone asked me one day about patient advocacy in the OR while the patient has no recall of the nurse(s) who cared for them while they were anesthetized. Being a patient advocate in the OR is about ensuring that you do your job well. What does that mean? Think about putting on a play. You can't have a good play without a script or props or actors can you? That's what nurses do. They make sure that your properly safely working props are in order, you make sure that the actors in the room are credentialed, assigned correctly, if not you ensure that extra safeguards are there to make it work for the case and the patient, you communicate, collaborate, inspect, safeguard, then do the patient care skills that are required for you to do.
You keep a little bit of stage fright for every case, so that you do your best-expecting and anticipating that things can and will go wrong. There is no complacency.
When you meet the patient-their loved ones, you allay fears, you explain what's going to happen, what you will be doing, know the case, what's going to happen, quickly study the diagnostic or elective choice reasoning behind the procedure, review the diagnostic results, know the pertinent drugs, what the patient takes, how to mix and administrate them, you defend the rights of the patient that you have come to know in a very short period of time. You monitor aseptic technique. and on and on it goes.
I cannot imagine when the conscience of a room goes to solely non-nursing personnel-the respect and care for the patient declines and all goes to saving money, time and disregarding proper guidelines.
Fortunately or unfortunately-we are also scribe who document correctly and concisely about the procedure, personnel, supplies, drugs and solutions used. Why? We are the ones legally required to do so--why?? because the document and the patient are the only ones who will recall the outcomes. Anesthesia documentation has it's own set of guidelines. We help them remember too.
Nursing is the most trusted profession year after year because nurses care. They care without judgement of the person. They care about their contribution to the surgical outcome of the patient as well as personal pride in their quality of skill-sets.
God help us all when the conscience of the care goes away. It takes more than properly putting in an IV or foley-or if a nurse is judged on how quickly they can turn a room over. But only one who embraces the art and science of nursing and works to bring the two together to know how challenging and rewarding that can be. That takes time and commitment to the craft.