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Student- Handling first surgery

Nurses   (1,654 Views 21 Comments)
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Hi there!

I am a nursing student going into my OB clinical rotation. I am very nervous for many reasons... 1) I don't have kids yet and 2) we are likely to see a vaginal delivery and/or C-section. I have never had the opportunity to observe any kind of surgery and I am terrified at the possibility of passing out! Honestly even the thought of seeing a live vaginal delivery scares me! I don't have any issues seeing blood or doing things like IV's and such with needles. I have seen a few procedures like a bone marrow biopsy but nothing that was an actual surgery. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had some advice for me??? I know to eat a good breakfast before clinical but is there any other tips/tricks you may have? Thanks in advanced!

- A terrified nursing student :)

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You will not be up close and personal with a woman's vagina! Even if the mother, OB/GYN, nurse allow you to be in the room during delivery you would be off to the side. If you are allowed to watch a C/section again you would be off to the side, would not get to see much.

However even being "off to the side" can make some people queasy. If you start to feel faint find a chair or even sit on the floor (that is better than becoming a "patient" if you pass out). Walk around, get the blood pumping back from your legs to your brain, or in the OR march in place.

You may be over thinking it, it seems like you are convincing yourself it will happen?

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You're right, I am totally over thinking it! I'm just nervous. Thanks for the suggestions!

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You're right, I am totally over thinking it! I'm just nervous. Thanks for the suggestions!

I think it all may be a matter of perspective, BSNAW.

As an LPN student, I had a different sort of reaction while observing in surgery. It was nearing lunchtime, and the Surgeon cauterized a bleeder. I got a whiff of the puff of smoke that rose from the Patient's body and my stomach started growling.

To my olfactory gland, cooked meat is cooked meat!

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1. Agree with the above responses

2. Don't stand stiff and straight with your knees locked. That will increase your chances of having a problem.

3. Don't hold your breath.

4. Don't stare at the spot of the incision, etc. Look away -- particularly at first & while they are actually making the incision. Give yourself a chance to "ease into it."

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A lot of my clinicals in OR and L&D involved an intimidating nurse who plainly said "You stand over there and don't touch anything". When you stand over there, you don't really get to see anything except the backs of the medical staff. Don't worry, you probably will have to work to see much of anything.

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Head over to the OR forum- under the FAQs or article tab, you'll find a thread titled So You're Observing in the Operating Room or something similar. Lots of good tips there.

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Well, I must have been lucky to be up close and involved when we did L&D. The hospital I was at was about 50/50 OB/Gyn and midwives. The mom we had laboring was using a midwife and with the mom's permission, I was right up there holding a leg back for her while she was pushing.

Other people have great advice already. The only thing I would add is if you start to feel a little funky, just excuse yourself and step out of the room. You wouldn't be the first and certainly not the last to get woozy! Good luck :)

Edited by tnbutterfly

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Well I must have been lucky to be up close and involved when we did L&D. The hospital I was at was about 50/50 OB/Gyn and midwives. The mom we had laboring was using a midwife and with the mom's permission I was right up there holding a leg back for her while she was pushing.

Other people have great advice already. The only thing I would add is if you start to feel a little funky, just excuse yourself and step out of the room. You wouldn't be the first and certainly not the last to get woozy! Good luck :)

Im right there with you. For my L&D rotation, I actually got to hold one of my patients legs while she was pushing. And later, I got to stand directly behind the doctor, and got a clear view of everything.

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I also held one of my patients' legs while she pushed. Asked the RN to take over when my arms got tired, though. I was up close and personal during 2 (well, more like 1.5) vaginal births. Embrace it! See and experience all you can. You never know what you will miss out on learning otherwise.

Edited due to typo.

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We ask all of the students if they have eaten breakfast--very important!! Like others said though if you feel all at lightheaded or dizzy sit down and or leave the room for some fresh air.

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Do you have a history of being queasy over things? It's never been a problem for me and I never particularly expected it to be. The smell of cauterized flesh during surgery is maybe something to brace yourself for (it's very -- organic). But I can still remember the first vaginal birth I watched, and I genuinely came away thinking, "I've just witnessed a miracle." Seriously, try to go into it with an open mind and a sense of wonder over the powers of the human body (birth) and mind (surgery). It's not as terrifying an experience as you might expect!

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