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Behind Closed Doors
The Games People Play
Paula Watkins
Publish Date: February 9, 2008   |  Tags:   Opinion

Page after page has been written telling you how to get along in life by "knowing the rules" and being able to psychologically "play the games." No mystery there. We learned as children what games to play, which ones were the most fun and which ones got us what we wanted on the playground.

The OR isn't child's play, but it can be a playing field, and sometimes if you want to be seen as someone who plays well with others, you just might have to play ball. Maybe you recognize these moves.

  • Boggle. What you'd do to the minds of outsiders if you let them know what OR nurses have seen and done in the name of delivering quality patient care.
  • Clue. Some people definitely need to get one when it comes to working a day in the OR.
  • Monopoly. There are surgeons who demand the same personnel in their OR every time for every case. (They might have to settle for Sorry.)
  • Crack the Whip. Trying to steer the patient to PACU while the anesthesia provider is pushing from the head of the bed.
  • Mother, May I? Yo, I've been in this room for six hours with this witch doctor. I need a break.
  • Magic 8-Ball. Would come in handy to find out what's going on with Dr. McDevil before he arrives.
  • Uno. Not always the loneliest number at work???
  • Solitaire. ...because sometimes you just want to be left alone to do your job.
  • Trivial Pursuit. When you're taking a patient's history, sometimes you learn more than you need or want to know.
  • Cootie. For some of the cases that show up in surgery, a full-body glove would be the only appropriate apparel.
  • Spin the Bottle, Doctor, Operation. I suspect that those three games, in that order, were what got a nurse I know interested in this profession for life. Hey, why mess up a good thing?
  • Aggravation. Something I take pride in being good at, especially with Dr. Damn-I'm-Good.
  • Mystery Date. I don't know when my evaluation is going to happen, but I'm looking forward to that 0.5 percent raise.
  • Rock ???Em Sock ???Em Robots. What pediatric dental days feel like.
  • Hangman. Some people complain about everything you do, even if you use a new rope.
  • Battleship. Come on! Let me hit him hard just one time.
  • Charades. There are a few hand signals I'd love to use in the OR. But they probably still wouldn't get it.
  • Twister. So much equipment and cords, but so few outlets to plug them into.
  • Barrel of Monkeys. It's true: some co-workers and surgeons are just more fun to work with than others.
  • Pictionary. Sometimes you just need a picture to understand what the surgeon wants.
  • Bingo. But when you finally get it right, some acknowledgment would be nice.
  • Tag. It's 1500 and you just showed up in my room. You're it, no tagbacks.
  • Yahtzee. At long last, the day's over. I didn't kill the patient, the anesthesia provider or the surgeon.