Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bonus points for not passing out!!!

Friday was my turn in the OR. We were to sit in and observe as many surgeries as we could between 0630 and 1200. I was super excited, but also nervous. I was the first in our group to go, and had NO IDEA what I was doing!

I check in, change into scrubs, make my way through the surgical staff's lounge, up the stairs, don my booties, cap and jacket and step through the doors. Crap. Which way do I turn? I decide left.

I find the nurse's station.

"Good morning," says Overly Chipper nurse.
"Morning, um, I'm your student nurse for this morning."
"We're getting a student today? Hey, Cathy! Did you know we were getting a student today?"


Overly Chipper Nurse calls someone to verify that they are allowing a student in today. Phone Nurse says "Sure, give her something fun to watch."

After checking with the other RNs around, they find out something "cool" is going on behind curtain number 3.

They shove me behind said curtain, where I find an elderly man lying on a gurney, PreOp Nurse and the anesthesiologist. PreOp nurse starts explaining to me what's going on with Mr. Smith, and before she gets 2 sentences out, the curtain is flung open, and I'm pushed aside for the Almighty Surgeon. I cower in the corner, as quiet as a mouse (which is difficult for me to do).

Almighty Surgeon leaves and Gas Doc and PreOp Nurse resume procedure. They were doing a total block of the right arm. If I could remember the name of the procedure, I'd tell you, but in a nutshell, they were poking in his neck with a long needle trying to find the right nerve to deaden. The cool thing is that the needle was attached to not only a syringe, but also an electrode device. When they hit a nerve, the muscles twitched and jumped! Neat! Once they found the right nerve and administered the anesthetic, they tell me that Mr. Smith is having a total shoulder replacement. I'm super excited!

Guy Nurse and Mother Hen Nurse hurry inside the curtained area, say hello to Mr. Smith, acknowledge my existence and tell me that they are the OR nurses for Mr. Smith.

"When are we going in to the OR?" I ask.

And out they flew with the patient babbling about whiskey, and with me scrambling to keep up.

I imagined that before the surgeon comes in the team is pretty quick and gets everything set up. I way underestimated their speed. In under 5 min (yes, I was timing it), they had the patient under, strapped to the beach chair, covered under piles of blankets and were back to chatting amongst themselves.

20 minutes later, Amazing Surgeon bounces through the door. First thing he does? Plugs in the iPod and turns it up. In 7 minutes, the team finished positioning Mr. Smith, scrubbed in, created the sterile field, covered the arm in surgi-skin and were making the first slice. I was in total awe!

It was absolutely amazing to watch the surgery! I did not get grossed out at all, and was actually a little giddy about the whole thing!

They let me play with the head of the humerus, taught me how to quickly sterilize instruments, and the medical reps gave me a quick run down of where and how everything was being attached!

After 4 hours, Mr. Smith was sewn back up. Amazing Surgeon came over to me.

"So, let me guess, you're gonna switch majors now?"
"No! I loved this! Thank you for letting me tag along and watch!"

Then he invited me to come watch his next surgery! But alas, my time was limited and I needed to see Mr. Smith through to the PACU.

Lessons Learned:
1. I belong in the OR.
2. If its head is covered, I forget its human.
3. Amazing Surgeon and I have the same taste in music.


  1. SWEET!!! I LOVED watching open-heart surgery. I was in TOTAL awe of the surgeon suturing the beating heart. He told me to become a nurse-anesthetist. I think he just wants minions :-p

  2. "Amazing Surgeon and I have the same taste in music."

    haha. That's why you call him amazing surgeon, eh. So are you going to change your major? :)

    Peny@nurse uniforms

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