What I learned on my surgery rotation

I just finished with my two months of surgery rotations. I am starting a month of psychiatry today. I am looking forward to it.

I am happy to say that I really enjoyed my surgery rotations. I thought I was going to be intimidated by the OR, but I found it fascinating. I am relieved, since surgery is a big part of ob/gyn.

Here are a few thing I learned on my surgery rotation:

Scrub in before the surgeon but after the OR nurse.

Before you scrub in, introduce yourself to the OR staff and give them your glove size.

The OR is really cold. At our location, they keep warmed blankets in a room right off the OR. Great for the patients, and great if you are observing to procedure. Can’t use them if you’re scrubbed in, of course.

You can use the suction to suck the smoke coming off the Bovey (electrocautering tool).

Getting the gown on and tied is the hardest part of the scrubbing in procedure.

When you cut surgical knots, pronate! Pronate! (OK, that was just with my surgeon. Every one has their own particularities).

If a nurse offers you a standing stool, say yes. But then don’t trip over it.

Don’t say “whoa!” really loudly with surprise if a blood vessel starts spurting into the air. If you can help it.

Ask if you can close, don’t wait for them to offer.

Ethicon has free knot tying practice boards, available on their website.

Urine output is important. Bowel movements are important. You will have to notice and talk about both, a lot, especially post op.

Hmmm, I can’t think of anything else, but I’ll add more if I think of more. Wish me luck in psych!


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9 responses to “What I learned on my surgery rotation

  1. K

    What does urine & bowel output mean to a surgeon?

    • MomTFH

      Ileus and small bowel obstructions are common, potentially serious complications of surgery. Lack of urine output can be a sign of serious issues, also. We have had two patients with acute renal failure, one pre-op, which postponed the surgery, and one post-op, due to a medication error.

  2. Ha! Don’t say Whoa. I’ll be laughing about that all day.

  3. mommymichael

    very cool. I find this all incredibly fascinating.

    Of course, the closest I’ve come to seeing surgery live is helping at the vet clinic. At 14, I “assisted” in amputating a dog’s hind leg and was *thrilled*. lol

  4. Jay

    I hope you have a great psych experience. I enjoyed my surgery rotation but that’s because I mostly spent it in the ER – I HATED the OR, hence my decision not to go into ob/gyn, even though I love love love delivering babies.

    Yours was “pronate”? Mine was “too short! too long! too short! Didn’t I tell you that was too long?”

  5. So I’ve wondered about the frigid temperatures in the OR ever since I came out of a brief surgery 20 years ago and thought I must be nearly dead since I was so cold! Is it kept so cold to ensure that no one will drip sweat onto the surgical field? Or is there another rationale?

    • MomTFH

      It gets really hot under the lights, in those gowns, gloves and masks. I thought it had something to do with infection, but apparently it doesn’t.

  6. Another tidbit: make sure you know how to put gloves on, using a solo sterile technique. You may not always have a scrub nurse available to glove you.

    Also: the circulating nurse is your friend & is the true boss of the OR. If she sees you break sterility, she will call you out on it, and you darn well better break scrub and re-scrub/re-gown/re-glove. 🙂

    Your friendly scrub/circulating nurse

    • Thanks for commenting! I always made sure to be extra nice to the scrub nurse. I do know how to do the solo technique but I never ended up doing it. I am so thankful I only broke scrub once.

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