Archive for May, 2011

Discrimination against Nursing Specialities

May 17th, 2011 | General Nursing | 0 Comments

A wise nurse once told me, “If you work in the Operating Room, you are going to lose all your standard nursing skills!”

I have become increasingly annoyed by this exact statement, which I continue to hear throughout my nursing career. Why is it that nurses not only “eat their young”, but also discriminate each other based on our different specialties? I have figured it is due to ignorance. Do nurses really know what goes on in the Operating Room? Do they really know the role of the Operating Room nurse?

This is why I have decided to give a little education……

So…..What does an Operating Room nurse really do?

Besides the obvious of just “passing instruments all day,” I coordinate, organize, set-up, initiate, produce and maintain the essential sterile field for a surgical procedure.

When a surgery is booked, I know the proper instruments the surgeon will need, what he prefers, and usually how long the surgery takes.

Even with a mask covering my face and a hat covering my hair, I am able to comfort a patient during the most vulnerable period in their life and give reassurance with only my eyes.

I am able to assist the anesthesiologist with putting a patient to sleep, and know the proper signs of a good intubation. I know the standard drugs and equipment used during a difficult intubation and the difference between a BURP and Cricoid Pressure!

I know how to properly position a patient for any type of surgery. I know all the pressure points, what kind of padding to apply, what extra equipment is essential and the proper O.R bed to use. I take all precautions, while the patient is asleep, to keep them safe!

I not only know the names of every instrument on my table, I know what their used for, how to put them together, how to properly pass them, know what their nicknames are, and know the exact moment when a surgeon may need them.

I have memorized the string of instruments that is of course: needle drivers, scissors, snaps, mosquitoes, allis, babcocks, kellys, kockers, lowers, and mixtures AND know the there are usually 10 snaps and 5 mosquitoes in a string. Why could this ever matter? Because in an emergency, I don’t even have to think of where, what, and how many instruments I have, I just know!

I know that when a surgeon usually asks for an extra long allis, he has probably hit a major vessel and he will need to clamp it in order to suture it. Oh and by the way, he will probably use a prolene suture on a small needle such as a C-1 or BB with a long rider driver, depending on his preference.

I am able to stand at most 16 hours and still be able to stay one step ahead of the surgeon in order to anticipate his next move.

So at the end of the day, the wise nurse was right, I haven’t used one standard nursing skill. But then again, I’m not just a standard nurse; I’m an Operating Room Nurse!

Lindsey White, RN, BScN