Family, what is it? The definition of family according to Webster’s Dictionary is, “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.” To most people, that is a very accurate statement. To some, family is who we chose to have in our lives. This same principle can be applied to the “family” that we work with in the operating room (OR).
I have always said, “Once you get into the OR family, you are stuck for life.” This is not a bad thing by any means. We don’t necessarily get to pick who we work with, just like we don’t get to pick who our “blood” family is. Once you spend late nights and early mornings with these people, they start to become your family. A surgical team is a close net of people. Spending all day, and sometimes nights, with coworkers gives you a chance to know what makes them tick and what ticks them off. True for any family.
Once that bond has been made, the family has grown by one more person and the more the merrier in the OR family! If that bond is not made with the OR family, then most times the person won’t last long at the facility. Don’t get me wrong there is always going to be bickering and little fights back and forth, but what family is perfect? If you can’t joke around with your family are you even really family?
Every family has a hierarchy as well. Mom and Dad are the doctors and the anesthetists. The RN’s are the bossy older siblings, the CRNA’s are the fun cool cousins, and the CST’s are the fun, crazy, mischievous children. Who are the grandparents? Well let me tell you, they are the OR director and the charge nurse. They tell you what to do in hopes that you do it, but don’t make them come in there and make sure you are doing it right! Like most families, we know the time and place to have fun and to be serious. We all have the same goal, patient safety. We all respect this goal in the OR family and hold it to the highest standard.
From the desk of Alicia Smalley, Surgical Technologist Site Coordinator