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Tips to nursing in the operating room


Specializes in Operating room.

Overview: This post is a comical look at what it takes to be an OR nurse, and the skills that you must develop or sharpen in the craft of developing your operating room "armour"

When I think of the most looney symbol that can personify the OR nurse I think of the Wile E. Coyote. I view him as the hero in the cartoon series. No matter how many times he does not succeed he still holds a constant humility, determination, still develops ambitious plans, and is always hungry for more. These traits translate very well to the operating room setting. Sometimes no matter how well your plan of care is for the most routine case you are bound to be confronted with some outlandish problem that has never happened before. Whether it be you cant find a wall outlet when you need one, your equipment gas tank has somehow gone empty, that pack of 10 sponges when counted is actually a pack of 9 on initial count.

The surgeon is the road runner at some points. changing the path of the procedure and subsequently curving your perfectly constructed plan for how the procedure will go. Sometimes there will be some verbal banter from the surgeon that causes the nurse to feel belittled because of this unpredictable change of plans. This behavior can often be very aggressive and threatening.

But fear not.. you as the Wile E. Coyote the hero, the protagonist of the ACME operating room desert landscape follow three simple rules.

RULE #1: the road runner cannot harm the coyote except by going "beep-beep."

- thats right, you as the nurse have rights and are in fact a human being under your cap and mask. Your bomb for road runner actually blew up in your own face and all the road runner can do to you at the end of the day is go "beep-beep" and stick his tongue out real nasty. roadrunner will never touch coyote, ever.

RULE #2: no outside force can harm the coyote - only his own ineptitude or the failure of the ACME products.

- the only person that can hurt yourself is you and your equipment in the operating room. keep your calm, keep your own pace. do not hurt yourself cause the road runner wants to run fast on a new road that you did not construct a trap for. check your equipment in the morning, don't trip on a power cord, don't cut yourself on a sharp corner of the bovie, and don't break your back for the surgeons time.

RULE #3: the coyote could stop anytime - if he were not a fanatic

- TIMEOUT is an important power for the operating room nurse. Do not be so derailed with your plan and rattled that you forget your prioritization. Everyone on the team will be wanting something at the change in the road. YOU NEED A MINUTE. take a few seconds atleast to put your thinking cap on instead of running around wildly in a single-minded approach.

Lets talk about you needing a minute. you want to be assertive and not aggressive in this situation. these two terms can become confusing. You can be assertive without be aggressive.

what is being assertive? It is to declare your point of view and not feel as if you need anothers approval or validation.

- confidently communicating your position on a matter.

- share a dissenting opinion.

- asking the offender to lower his/her voice or to change his/her tone.

- explaining your situation and problem with whats being said and maintaining eye contact.

- declining the request if you do not feel comfortable - suggest another person who may be able to help the requester. Remove yourself from the situation.

Be safe out there my fellow coyotes.