Pet peeves and mistakes are often talked about among veterans of the OR. And though these annoyances might be common knowledge among hospital staff, they are never really discussed with “fresh meat” surg tech students. The term “fresh meat” seems a bit carnivorous but then again, the OR really can eat you up if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The questions we get before a surgical technologist student heads out for externship are always the same. What is it like to be the new kid in the OR? How do you know what to do and what not to do? Well, your instructors try their best to prepare you for what you may face out there as the newbies. Unfortunately, we can only simulate what we ourselves went through. I myself, having roughly 12 years in the healthcare industry, have seen a lot in my day. So, this blog is to help you newbies know the four most cringe-worthy phrases you should NEVER say. Follow along and listen up!
1. “I know”
UGH just typing this phrase makes me cringe. Whenever you are given constructive criticism, NEVER respond with “I know.” The reason why is because if you did in fact “know,” you wouldn’t be in a situation to receive constructive criticism. Make sense? A much better response is eye contact and positive nodding, taking notes or replying with “okay.” Showing your ignorance will get you nowhere, showing your curiosity will get you everywhere.
2. “It sure is a quiet day”
This phrase is the kiss of death! Anything referring to how quiet or slow the day can show that you are completely unaware of what will probably walk in the door in 2 minutes. You can almost count on everything going south no matter what day it is. There will be crazy traumas coming in left and right, people will leave early and cases will be added on, and water mains will break. I mean you name it, and I’ve seen it. There are no “quiet” days.
3. “It’s just a ______, it will be fine”
This is closely related to my previous comment. No case is a simple case. The reason why is not because of the supplies or instruments to prepare, it is because of the patient. How the patient reacts to anesthesia can make or break that simple procedure. The key is to always prepare for worst-case scenarios so when they happen, you can react appropriately. It’s all in the preparation!
4. “It’s not my job”
This is true in any job setting. If the job will improve patient outcomes, it IS everyone’s job. It can be as or as simple as picking up a candy wrapper you see walking down the hall. You wear a badge or uniform that displays not only your name but the company you chose to represent. You applied for the job, went through the interview process knowing your assigned role, and accepted the job offer. So when you see that phrase stating “other duties as assigned” that means just that. The important thing to remember is you have to know what you can legally do that will not have a negative effect on both you and the patient. This is called working within your scope of practice. We teach this very intensely in the Community Care College Surgical Technologist program. Working in an OR is no little job. The responsibilities of working in a hospital go beyond just working in the OR with a surgeon. You are responsible for being a representation of everyone working jobs in healthcare. You do not just help the surgeon during surgeries, you are a healthcare professional.
So for those of you that are new to the medical field, these four phrases should NEVER be reiterated while you are in clinical rotations or as a new employee. Are you considering enrolling in an accredited institution to become a healthcare professional? I hope you found this blog helpful and have an awesome experience learning more about healthcare and surgical technology. It truly is so rewarding to be in this field as a healthcare professional.
From the desk of Tasha Lorenzo, Certified Surgical Technologist and Surgical Technologist Instructor at Community Care College.