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Behind Closed Doors
Give a Man a Fish and He Will Eat for a Day
Paula Watkins
Publish Date: December 1, 2008   |  Tags:   Opinion

All of our lives we've heard old sayings and folk wisdom passed down through the ages from ancient proverbs and Aesop's fables, Shakespeare and Benjamin Franklin, our mothers and self-help books. With a little tweaking, it seems as though quite a few of them have something to say about working in surgery.

  • A penny for your thoughts, although most OR nurses will share those for free.
  • Early to bed, early to rise, still makes me cranky.
  • Life is one big experiment (and some days you feel like one big Petri dish).
  • If at first you don't succeed, unplug it and start over.
  • A few germs never hurt anyone — as long as we're not talking about MRSA.
  • A journey of a thousand miles begins with entering a room with a surgeon you don't like.
  • Music has charms to sooth the savage beast, which is why we let him pick the music and play it loud.
  • Everything comes to those who wait: except when it's a dropped instrument in the flash autoclave.
  • Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Give your OR staff anything, and they'll eat it in less than 10 minutes.
  • A little learning is a dangerous thing, but when we're short-staffed, we'll take anyone who knows anything.
  • Give assistance, not advice, in a crisis. (Remember that, supervisors.)
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but unfortunately not all of them.
  • He that is hard to please, may get nothing in the end. But it's amazing what he'll get in return for respect.
  • Fools and scissors require good handling. (You're harassing me while I'm assisting you? I've got those scissors right here.)
  • Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, especially if she's a seasoned OR nurse.
  • Everyone has the right to be stupid, but some people abuse the privilege. (There's one in every OR.)
  • It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. (How long are you going to stand there yelling at me?)
  • The best cure for a short temper is a long walk (off a short loading dock).
  • If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. My contract at this hospital is for at least 13 weeks: You count the days.
  • A grudge is a heavy thing to carry, unless everyone on board shares it.
  • When surrounded by chaos, go on break.
  • A stitch in time saves nine, especially when you may have to come back and reclose.
  • A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. (Thank goodness for the 3-to-11 shift.)
  • Everything in moderation, unless it's a raise.
  • It's always darkest before the dawn, especially when you've worked all night.
  • A day is lost if one has not laughed. So lighten up already, you can't take this seriously.