Archive December 2018 XIX, No. 12

Behind Closed Doors: All We Want for Christmas

Santa's going to need a bigger sleigh to hold these presents.

Paula Watkins

Paula Watkins, RN, CNOR


Christmas Tree

I asked my extended family of surgical sisters and brothers what they'd like to see sterile double-wrapped under the irrigation tower we decorate as a Christmas tree. Their list, dear Santa:

1 More cordless equipment in the OR. Even the sure-footed fledglings can trip on cords from towers, bovies, C-arms, harmonics, pumps, NovaSures and shavers.

2More youngbloods. Maybe just warm bodies would be good. We'd even appreciate a few lukewarm bodies that will work 5% harder.

3A little help from the boss. Bean counters who think less manpower is better for the bottom line should have to help turn over a room after a messy shoulder arthroscopy once a week before they go plastering every surface with graphs and charts about stupid turnovers times.

4Equipment that works. I believe manufacturers line the motherboards of OR equipment with gremlin eggs that hatch in 9 months, causing the machines to burp and spit up. Is it too much to ask for equipment that powers up and is ready to roll every time you plug it in and turn it on?

5Mandatory retirement. Some docs should be forced to lay down their scalpels at a certain age.

6Pocket stuffers. A circulating nurse should have 3 pens in her scrub top (a pair and a spare) and scissors in her scrub pant pocket. A small notebook with surgeon information and a phone to Google medical terms and spelling (our EMR doesn't have spell-check) in the left jacket pocket, and a taser or stun gun in the right.

7Speed dial. Surgeons will store the numbers to the head of central sterile and the materials manager on speed dial. This way, they can skip the middleman (circulator) when they can't locate their must-have tools, when the instrument they need is still sitting in decontam or when somebody forgets to reorder supplies.

8A lunch break. Everything stops at noon and OR workers get a proper lunch break. Maybe there should be free tea and cookies. Espresso would be a nice touch, too.

9Alexa Voice Remote. Alexa, turn the monitor screen toward the surgeon. Alexa, cool the room down. Alexa, order another pickup for the one the scrub dropped. Alexa, answer the doctor's phone. Alexa, press the mute button on this surgeon who's having a cat fit.

Naughty or nice?

We've been good this year. We're not second guessing the surgeons and we're not throwing expensive items in the trash. If there's room on Santa's sleigh, we'd ask for more time off and for more teamwork, tolerance and respect. OSM
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