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"Circulating is so easy"

Operating Room   (15,650 Views 54 Comments)
by ORSmurf ORSmurf (Member)

ORSmurf specializes in GI, OR, Oncology.

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I'm sick to death of hearing how easy it is to circulate. The surgery center where I work is having a difficult time recruiting circulators and we are miserably understaffed right now. One of the tech's made the comment, "I don't know why they can't find anyone - I mean, it's the easiest nursing job there is - you get to sit around all the time" :angryfire I guess when you're a good circulator, you make it look easy. Has anyone else heard comments like this? What do you say? I end up feeling so angry that I just bite my tongue for fear I'll say something I'll regret (I have a bit of a temper, so it's best for me to keep quiet).

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shodobe specializes in O.R., ED, M/S.

1,260 Posts; 8,506 Profile Views

I agree with you. Most, if not all, scrubs think it is so easy to circulate. Well, I have also scrubbed for 30 years and that is pretty easy also. The only reason it looks easy is after a number of years you can pretty much know what needs to be done and don't have to look like a confused, harried, scared individual. I remember for a number of years at the beginning I would set in my chair practically on my toes waiting for something to be asked for or seeing something that needed to be done. Now I have that circulators 6th sense that allows me to hear AND see with my back turned to the table or even OUT of the room! If you have been in the business a long time and also know about scrubbing then not only are you watching the room but also watching that the scrub doesn't mess something up or look like they are lost and confused, like alot of them do. Lucky for me I work with a number of techs at another facility that are very, very good and never have to worry about them. I also work PT at a surgery center and it can be very hard and frustrating at times, so then only time I really get to set down is when paper work needs to be done. Techs really don't know what the circulator does, especially the young ones, and just because you set down that only means that you are really good at what you do!

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GadgetRN71 is a ASN, RN and specializes in Operating Room.

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I agree with you. Most, if not all, scrubs think it is so easy to circulate. Well, I have also scrubbed for 30 years and that is pretty easy also. The only reason it looks easy is after a number of years you can pretty much know what needs to be done and don't have to look like a confused, harried, scared individual. I remember for a number of years at the beginning I would set in my chair practically on my toes waiting for something to be asked for or seeing something that needed to be done. Now I have that circulators 6th sense that allows me to hear AND see with my back turned to the table or even OUT of the room! If you have been in the business a long time and also know about scrubbing then not only are you watching the room but also watching that the scrub doesn't mess something up or look like they are lost and confused, like alot of them do. Lucky for me I work with a number of techs at another facility that are very, very good and never have to worry about them. I also work PT at a surgery center and it can be very hard and frustrating at times, so then only time I really get to set down is when paper work needs to be done. Techs really don't know what the circulator does, especially the young ones, and just because you set down that only means that you are really good at what you do!

:yeahthat:

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243 Posts; 3,810 Profile Views

I'm a CST student, and I want to relay a conversation I had with my neighbor today...He's in med supply sales, and former RN (ER/Critical care). He asked why am I schooling to scrub, why don't I become a nurse, so I can circulate because, (are you ready for this?) YOU'D MAKE RIDICULOUS MONEY, AND GET TO SIT ON YOUR BUTT ALL DAY.

I was so mad on behalf of every circulator on this forum!!! I explained my reasons for my career plans, and then politely pointed out that if he had made that comment to any circulating nurse I know, he probably wouldn't have a butt left to sit on!

Jerk.

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448 Posts; 3,814 Profile Views

"ignorance is bliss," can sum up all comments made like that one. just because one or a couple of people want to be jerks does not mean that all feel that way. it is no different than, "even a monkey could pass instruments or you don't really have to go to school to be a tech" etc... the problem is that instead of trying to build good reform between nursing and allied health care to give the best care possible to our patient, we are trying to belittle each other. it doesn't make sense.

sorry that my fellow techs were so rude but don't judge the entire profession by them. i don't judge all docs because of a couple of neuro or vascular guys.

the techs that make these comments are usually jealous for your job for your pay and will not make an effort to return to school for a job like yours because they are lazy. that is why they are so rude. they are resentful.

as i said before, do not judge an entire profession because of a couple of jerks.

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15 Posts; 726 Profile Views

After 9 yrs in the OR, (both outpt, and hospital settings) this seems to be an ongoing issue with surgical technicians.

Jealousy over compensation is usually the culprit.

When I hear negative statements regarding Circulators I say this...

The Circulator is responsible for his/her patient and it is THEIR license on the line in that operating room. They have the education, training and licensure that is demanded in this specialty.

that will usually shut their pieholes...

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GadgetRN71 is a ASN, RN and specializes in Operating Room.

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Funny, but when I was a tech, I'd hear the nurses say "Great, I get to scrub" and I'd be puzzled as to why. Ha, now that I'm an RN, :lol2: I get it!

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MrChicagoRN is a RN and specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care.

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;)

One of the tech's made the comment, "I don't know why they can't find anyone - I mean, it's the easiest nursing job there is - you get to sit around all the time" :angryfire I guess when you're a good circulator, you make it look easy.

I end up feeling so angry that I just bite my tongue for fear I'll say something I'll regret (I have a bit of a temper, so it's best for me to keep quiet).

Just tell them that Michael Jordan made it look easy, yet no one ever said that being in the NBA was easy.\

Don't get mad...it looks easy because you are so good at it.;)

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ORSmurf specializes in GI, OR, Oncology.

161 Posts; 2,399 Profile Views

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I guess I just needed to vent a little bit. I understand that not everyone feels that way. I just let a couple of the bad apples get to me that day.

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15 Posts; 1,234 Profile Views

Can someone explain to me what the difference is between a scrub nurse, an OR nurse and a circulator is? I'm getting ready to start nursing school and I think I would like to work in the OR but I'm curious about these other positions that you all speak of.

Thank you so much!

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243 Posts; 3,810 Profile Views

Well, I'm still in school, but let me see if I can at least give you the basics...

An OR nurse is any nurse working in the OR, regardless of their task. The two tasks performed by an OR nurse are scrubbing and curculating. Scrubbing is the "sterile" role in the OR and consists of, among other things, preparing the instruments, meds, and equipment for the surgery, handing them to the surgeon, maintaining the sterility of the field, possibly holding retractors, etc. Although many nurses can and do scrub, hence the term scrub nurse, that role is now largely performed by a Surgical Technologist, or scrub tech. That's what I'm training for. I'll have an associate's degree and a certification, but will not be a nurse. Scrub techs do not administer meds or assess patients.

The circulator is the "unsterile" team member, a nurse who oversees the OR, handles the paperwork, advocates for the patient (although the entire OR team is thinking about the wellbeing of the patient FIRST), and many other duties such as documentation, bringing supplies in from outside the OR, and I'm sure there are at least a dozen other things . Maybe someone could jump in here and elaborate for me? ;) I don't know as much about that role yet.

Both scrub and circulator can work together to prep and position patient, and both count instruments, sponges, needles, etc. before, during, and after surgery.

There's also "first assisting", which is performed by specially trained nurses, surgical techs, or surgeons-in-training. That's bacically a second pair of hands for the surgeon, under his direct supervision.

If you search through the posts in this OR Nursing forum, you should get a better idea of what the OR roles are. You can also go to www.ast.org the Association of Surgical Technologists website, they also have a forum there and really helpful folks who will answer your questions about ST stuff.

To put it in a nutshell, if you want to be directly involved in patient care decisions, be a nurse. If you want to be right up in the surgery, with your responsibility mainly to make sure the surgeon has what he needs when he needs it, be a scrub tech.

I hope I got most of that right. Anyone who would like to jump in and fine-tune my answers, feel free. I'm telling you this based on what I have learned researching my career choice.

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39 Posts; 1,164 Profile Views

I think that is a basic definition, although both have more responsibilities than listed. And some hospitals have nurses scrub, and some (though not many) have CST's circulate. I do not believe that circulating is an "easy job", but really...this is surgery. People are in a position that they cannot advocate for themselves. Someone has to...by definition this is not an easy task!

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