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Behind Closed Doors
What's the Weather Like in OR 3?
Paula Watkins
Publish Date: June 10, 2008   |  Tags:   Opinion

It's amazing how much the weather governs our lives, especially around this time of the year. "Should I take an umbrella along to work?" "Can I get away with short sleeves?" "Is it time to pack away the wool sweaters and break out the shorts and T-shirts?" In the spring, our lives revolve around "if weather permits."

Weather's dominant role in our lives has also made it an automatic step for us to equate climate conditions with personalities, such as when someone "is in a sunny mood" or "storms into the room."

Keeping those two factors in mind, if you work in the perioperative arena it's usually helpful to figure out what kind of weather you're going to be facing that day. Luckily, you don't really need a meteorologist to gauge the conditions; most of the time all it takes is a glance at a co-worker's face — especially on a Monday morning — and you've got your forecast right there. Here are some weather patterns you might be familiar with.

  • Foggy. Our patients, waking up after anesthesia.
  • Flash flooding. A shoulder arthroscopy with an acromioplasty and rotator cuff repair.
  • Cold front. The laminar flow orthopedic rooms. Can't really wear a sweater over your scrubs.
  • Drought. On those marathon cases, you're praying for a break, if only to get a few drops of water.
  • Fair weather. Days when any co-worker is willing to lend a hand. But beware: When you're out at sea, will they turn out to be "fair weather friends?"
  • Hurricane. Nurses or surgeons who arrive in a bit of a depression, become rather stormy as their cases progress, then escalate into mass destruction, leaving chaos in their wake as they blow out of the OR doors.
  • Scattered thunderstorms. When tempers seem to ignite without warning, followed almost immediately by sunshine, as if nothing had happened. Is this co-worker named "Sybil?" Doppler radar images could come in handy here.
  • Tornado. Stay out of their path. Their behavior is ranked by the Fujita Scale ??? or by other F-words.
  • Hot and humid. That's the response you're all feeling when a case's situation goes rapidly south. (Hey, who turned the thermostat up in here?)
  • Partly cloudy to overcast. Administrators who spend entire work weeks in their offices, yet think they know what's going on. They'll never get a clear view until they step outside.
  • Frost advisory. That attitude you get from some fresh new surgeons, as if they're entitled to it.
  • Below freezing. My response to those frosty surgeons with attitude.
  • Heat wave. When the hunky plumbing contractor shows up to fix the leak in one of our sinks. A lot of women find a lot of reasons to be in a usually less-traveled area that day. You go, girls.
  • Warm and sunny. The reception I've received in every facility at which I've had a contract and the opportunity to work over the past three years, as of this month. Thanks.