Archive November 2018 XIX, No. 11

Behind Closed Doors: Giving Thanks

You'll see how blessed you really are when you count your blessings.

Paula Watkins

Paula Watkins, RN, CNOR



Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all the good things that came your way ... and for the good fortune to dodge the bullets that came your way. Here are 20 things I’m thankful for ...

1. being able to wear scrubs to work instead of my clothes.

2. still having (most of) my faculties to continue to work in the OR.

3. the strength to subdue and secure a strapping male teenager coming out of anesthesia.

4. working with all the refurbished, broken-down “new-to-us” equipment that failed because of system error, operator’s fault or both. This has built character in me and it’s a secure feeling knowing over the years some things haven’t changed.

5. the gut-wrenching flu that saved me from having to work with Dr. Weasel from 0800 till dark thirty.

6. skin so tough and calloused that surgeons can’t penetrate it, even in an attempt to hurt my feelings (yet, I can still feel with my heart for my patients).

7. the obnoxious team member who should have retired 20 years ago who’ll finally hang up her scrubs at year’s end.

8. the shredder (shredding documents is oddly therapeutic).

9. Xeroform and iodoform, which make tolerable those infected wounds that funkify the room clear out into the hall.

10. those times I team up with a staff member who has your back and you have his. Whatever you forget, he has it in his hand. Whatever he forgets to connect, you connect it. It’s not about old nurse, new nurse, or male or female, or who’s right or who’s wrong. It’s all about working together with one goal in mind: patient care.

11. working in a facility that recognizes the employees for their hard work.

12. a young manager who is creative and energetic.

13. Ben Franklin, for inventing the flexible urinary catheter. Bet you didn’t know that!

14. inflatable transfer mattresses, which have saved a lot of surgical personnel from injuries. Even with having 6 people helping (which seldom happens), we’ve had multiple back and neck injuries trying to heave-ho overweight patients onto and off of stretchers.

15. surgical techs and surgical aids, who have covered my butt more times than I can remember. And I think they work harder than I do.

16. EMR. When it works, it’s so much faster than charting by hand. I have to admit, I went there kicking and screaming. But the first time the electronic medical records system went down and we had to chart by hand, I almost had a nervous breakdown.

17. my health. Yes, I have things that are beginning to wear out with age and the nature of the job. In a few years I’ll retire, and I think that’s scary.

18. that I’ve kept my sense of humor over the last 38 years, as well as for the friendships I’ve made in and out of the OR.

19. Outpatient Surgery Magazine, for giving me the chance to write, something I’ve wanted to do since the third grade.

20. You, my dear readers. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. OSM

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