More Tips for The OR
In my first post, The Surgical Tech: How To Stand Out In The OR, I touched on a few essentials on how to appear like a rock star in the OR. There is always more that can be done to better ourselves as surgical techs. In effort to provide better care for our patients and be more efficient for our doctors, I have compiled more key points to help you master the OR.
#6 Take Responsibility
It doesn’t matter how good you are because eventually you WILL make a mistake. Hopefully, it’s something small and fixable, but it could be something not so small. Regardless, you need to own up to it. Taking responsibility for your actions (both good and bad) earns you respect, loyalty, and you will gain trust from your peers. These are major factors to successfully working in the OR. If you are consistently taking credit for something you didn’t do or throwing your co-workers under the bus for something you did, you won’t get far in this career. Do what’s right, admit your faults, fix them, and move on.
#7 Sterile Technique
A career in surgical technology requires an abundance of skills but none more important than sterile technique. The patient always comes first and that is why sterility should be your #1 concern! It is your responsibility to create and maintain a sterile field from beginning to end, from setting up the back table, to draping, to closing up and finishing, your sterile technique must be on point.
Even at the start of a case when supplies and instrument sets are being opened, pay close attention. If there is ever a question of sterility use the motto: WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT. Something as simple as draping can be difficult depending on the case. This makes it easy to contaminate so be very aware of your surroundings. Practice draping as much as you can to perfect your technique and avoid contamination. When there is any kind of contamination, speak up IMMEDIATELY and take the appropriate actions to fix it.
#8 Pay Attention
Don’t get lost in the clouds. I know some cases can be boring and it’s easier to daydream than watch and be attentive to the case. Instead of drifting away, ask questions about the case and at least pretend to be interested in what is going on. The only stupid question is the one that is never asked! Find out as much as you can about the case. The more you understand the better you’ll be at anticipating your surgeon’s needs. When you and the surgeon can get through an entire case without speaking, you know you have reached ninja level! You are quiet but proficient and all needs were met. Who knew paying attention would make you a surgical ninja?
#9 Stay Organized
A great surgical tech has a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Everything runs more efficiently when you are organized . Have good notes, keep a neat back table, and always have your “availables” easily accessible. Organization will give you speed and make you look awesome. Having a perfectly neat mayo stand and back table makes it easy to find what you need when you need it, and creates a less stressful environment. It sucks to have to scramble for something when it is needed STAT, so work smarter not harder. Find a system that works for you and stick to it.
#10 Take Initiative
Jump in and get your hands bloody! Don’t be scared to be assertive and take initiative. You are part of the team and you need to be involved. To do your job correctly, you need to be able to see what is going on. This means getting up close and personal. Don’t worry, we don’t bite … too hard. If the surgeon is having a hard time visualizing the site, adjust the light or grab a retractor to help (however, know your surgeon because there are a few out there who don’t want help). If something needs to be done within your facility, don’t wait to be asked, just do it! Show that you are motivated and willing to take initiative. This will take you far, not just in your career, but in life too.
I’m honestly humbled by the amazing response I received from my post The Surgical Tech: How To Stand Out In The OR. I can’t thank you enough for your support. I truly love what I do and I have really enjoyed writing about it. If you have enjoyed this, please subscribe to be notified of future posts. If you keep reading ’em I’ll keep writing ’em!
Check out this post by Lady Lancet, the traveling OR nurse! The Ten Commandments Of Surgery