Posted in Grad Nurse, Nurse Residency, The Operating Room

Staying Ahead of the Curve



Well…I am in the throes of my Intraoperative orientation. Man oh man, do I have a lot to learn. Now that I appreciate the fact I’m expected to know all of this and then some, shit is getting real. I find myself writing notes and not really knowing why or what for. So, I’ve decided to chop the days up into tasks that I can manage. Reasonable wins, if you will.

In the OR, you have so so much to keep track of…more than just patient allergies and contraindicated medications. You have their history, the surgical assessment and plan. Their previous surgeries. The equipment that is going to be used in the room. The instruments that are going to be used in the room. The temperaments and preferences of every single person in the room. The warmth of the patient, the vital signs of the patient, the charting, charging, implants and explants. The implant logs. The sterility of the environments. What time a patient was in the room. What time the patient was out of the room. And then, for fuck sake, you had better get that next patient in the room within 15 minutes or ELSE.

It’s unreal guys. It’s seriously unreal. There are hundreds of procedures performed in our OR and we have less than 10 OR suites. Today, I was told that my turnover time took 35 minutes. 35 minutes! That’s forEVER in the OR!!!

Then I realized something really freaking important. I had a preceptor that pretty much just threw me in the pool and said “swim”.  Swim? SWIM!?! I can’t even put on water wings and you want me to swim? How bout we take a sip of water first, my friend. Dip in a toe or something. Swim? You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me.

So then I said to myself…I said, “Self. You are a bad ass. But, you kind of suck at this. Let’s make you look more badassy.” And so…I have set out to impress at least once person a day with something I know that they didn’t think I know. The issue I’m having (BIG TIME) both as a new grad and as a new girl on the OR block is EFFICIENCY, PRIORITIZATION, and TIME MANAGEMENT. Basically, I suck at every got damn thing that’s important in nursing. Literally, suck. I feel like every single thing I learned in nursing school has left my brain.

And the real kicker? How the heck do I get faster? How am I supposed to get faster? How do I learn how to circulate, chart at the same time, look up the next patient and both drop off and pick up the next patient all within 15 minutes? How is that possible? For me, it’s only possible by me showing up to work super early and looking up my patients before work starts. And I mean really getting to know my patients. I feel like if I knock that out of my way, the day will go by so much more smoothly and it will cut my turnover time in half – it will help me prepare for my surgeries for the day and it will allow me the time to focus on circulating my cases instead of barely surviving my cases. ESPECIALLY when I have a less than direction-giving preceptor.

All of you new nurses out there…how are you keeping yourself ahead of the learning curve? (wine doesn’t count!)


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