Thursday, September 15, 2011

The stuff they don't show you in medical shows.

I’ve recently returned to nursing, if you are squeamish don’t read this one!

Stuff they don’t show you on the TV medical programmes.

As a person who works in the OR it is almost impossible to have a cup of tea without also having a wee straight after.
Working with long surgery a LOT I got into the habit of going to the bathroom on any and all breaks I got, because you never know when the next one will be. Fluid balance must be maintained at all times so that in the worst case scenario, you won’t need to un-scrub to dash to the loo.
On that note, specialist OR nurses and doctors have ALL seriously contemplated secretly catheterising themselves to avoid the shame of being the first one to crack when you are at the table all day!

We listen to music while we cut you up.
One of my surgeons loved Jack Johnson, an anaesthetist has a large collection of humorous music for operating time.
Arguments are had over radio station, volume and whether to have it at all.
8-12 hours stuck in a room with the same people and a machine that goes *bing* every day would be CRAP without music, so please don’t worry that your team is unprofessional if the radio is playing when you are wheeled in.

You probably know from the TV that we fight over the “cool” cases, but did you know we play paper scissors rock to avoid the cranky surgeons?
If you are a surgeon and you have a constantly rotating team, it’s because you are a jerk and we are trying to avoid you. Bring a cake, and stop being an asshole.

We still get grossed out.
I can be up to my elbows in someone’s bowel for a case, and afterwards flinch when the tube is taken out and there is a wee bit of mucus at the end. We are people too, and have stuff that we don’t like. Generally as a team we are open about stuff we don’t like and negotiate to swap for the stuff we don’t mind.

We have a life.
We look forward to leaving work as much as an accountant or receptionist. We love what we do, but for most of us, it isn’t our whole lives. Friday is still Friday and don’t love a Monday morning any more than you do.

As a scrub nurse you will eat roughly 1 litre of snot each winter.
It is something people don’t think about, but when you have a cold in the office next time, count how many times you blow your nose. Now imagine that you have a mask over your nose and mouth and can’t touch it for roughly 2-3 hours at a time.
Yes; each and every person you know who works in an operating room knows EXACTLY what snot tastes like, and has ploughed on working regardless.
And you thought the SAS was badass.


  1. I wasn't aware of the snot issue. Interesting.

  2. "up to my elbows in someone’s bowel" baaaahahahaaa!


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