This article was originally published on The Circulating Life, and has been adapted for publication for First Case.
Perioperative Nurses' Week kicks off this coming Sunday! Just like the hashtag AORN is using this year, I can definitely say that I am #PeriopProud. I love working in the Operating Room and I am passionate about empowering others to feel confident in their roles as OR Nurses.
On any given day, I can think of a million different reasons why working in the OR is awesome. After working in Med-Surge, Pain Management, and Neonatal ICU, I definitely found my calling in the operating room. But I'm not sure that I would be as appreciative if I hadn't worked in all of those other places. My past experiences have definitely given me some perspective!
I'm not actually going to list off a million different reasons I love working in the OR, I'm only going to give you seven. It's a short list, but they're BIG reasons to love our department.
7 Reasons to Love the OR
1. Patient Ratios
I don't know about you, but showing up to work and having 9 or 10 patients to take care of is an immediate joy killer. It's just too much. In the OR, your patient ratio is always 1:1. Your surgeon may have three different ORs going at the same time, but you only have one patient in one room to focus on. It's wonderful.
Why anesthesia? Because they're the ones keeping your patient alive and asleep. And sleeping patients are a *quiet* blessing. They're also the ones dealing with all of the lines, tubes, monitors, and mucus (ick!) - which makes them super heroes, in my opinion.
3. Waiting Rooms
Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, your patient's 3rd cousin twice removed....you name it, everybody shows up when someone's in the hospital. And while family support is good for the patient, it can mean double or triple duty for the nurse on the floor. But in the operating room, families don't get to come to surgery. They go to the waiting room. That means you're free to focus only on your patient and the needs of the case. It's liberating.
4. No Call Lights
After you've answered your 47th call light from room 203 in less than 3 hours because your patient needs pain meds, Grandma needs a blanket, Aunt Susie can't find the cafeteria, and Cousin Steve has to tell you all about his Google search for your patient's condition ("Could this be auto-immune?"), you'll realize that a day without call lights would be glorious. And then, when you realize that every day in the OR is 'No Call Light Day', you'll think you've died and gone to Heaven.
5. Cutting-Edge Technology
Robots, anyone? How cool is that?! The advancements in robotic surgery are really impressive. We can do joint replacements, gallbladder removals, and hernia repairs, just to name a few... And when you work in an OR that uses them, you get to see all of them!
It's not just robots that are impressive, though. Surgeons can separate conjoined twins, operate on a baby in utero, correct leg length discrepancy with internal rods and magnets, and perform even the most delicate surgeries to restore function and prevent loss on various parts of the body. It's all fascinating! And none of it happens without the skilled OR staff that show up day in and day out.
When you work in the OR, you go from just having "good" multi-tasking skills to having BAD-ASS multi-tasking skills. It's inevitable. Juggling and prioritizing the needs of your patient, your surgeon, your scrub, and your CRNA require adept attention to detail and an ability to stay cool under pressure that is unrivaled in other specialties.
I don't recommend describing your multi-tasking skills as bad-ass on your next resume, though. But it's still the best description. 😉
7. The People
The people that work in the OR are the best in the business, hands down. And I have never worked with a more dynamic, hard-working group of people. We laugh together, we cry together, we say more bad words than we should, we can get loud, and we know everybody's business (there are no secrets in the OR), but we'll come running the minute someone needs help, because that's just what we do. We're a team, and we make a pretty darn good one, too.
Obviously, I love working in the OR. It can get stressful at times, and I know it's not perfect, but compared to my other experiences, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
As we get ready to celebrate Perioperative Nurses' Week next week, what do you love most about being an OR nurse?
Keep being awesome!