Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Unseen Nurse

Why then do I love it so much? Am I crazy? OK, maybe a's kind of prerequisite for working in an OR. Exhaustion becomes a way of life. You learn to eat when you can, drink when you can, sleep when you can and go to the bathroom when the opportunity arises.
You get stuck in a little room with 3-5 other strong personalities for hours on end. If you are the circulating nurse, you will need to orchestrate the actions into a cohesive whole. If you are the scrub nurse, you are on the front line any time something is missing or wrong.

Every second counts. You must be extremely efficient and be able to prioritize wisely. What needs to be done immediately, what needs to be done soon, and what can wait a minute. When to stop everything and when to hurry it along. How to do three things at once, and do them correctly. Decisions...Priorities...Multi-tasking, these are your challenges every moment.

Thinking outside the box is a skill of the experienced OR nurse.  You need to think of new ways to use old things constantly.  Every person is different inside, literally!  No two operations are the same.  Sometimes what you usually use, doesn't work...creativity is a must!
You need to love a challenge, have high energy, be able to think on your feet and hit the ground running.  Doctors yell at you every time something is missing or something goes wrong.  You are the unseen nurse.  No-one remembers your care, because they were asleep for it.

You need to have a very strong ego, everything will be your fault the instant it happens.  Later, you may get an apology...but in the instant you just let them rant.  I was taught that one of the ways I perform my job as patient advocate is to let them yell.  It was explained to me this way...better they yell at me, than their hands shake in the wound.  Much better!  Let them get it out!
However, it is also the only place in nursing that has such instant gratification!  Some-one's gallbladder is making them sick, take it out...there, they are cured.  The baby will die if it is not delivered now, take it out...there, the baby lives.
Although the docs yell a lot, they learn to depend on you and respect you more than if you were a floor nurse.  They perceive you as being smarter, more reliable.
You are challenged every day.  You learn something every day.  It is an ever changing, never static or dull, environment.  You have to BE there mentally and physically 100% at all times.  As I say, not for everyone, but I seem to thrive on it.