Where did the year go? 2015 slipped away like Surgilube off the side of a back field when you miss the towel, and now here we are in making-a-list-and-checking-it-twice season again. I've been asking my friends in ORs everywhere for their holiday gift lists. Ready, set ...
- Cleaner preference sheets. The first item on the list is a better list: We wish that correct preference sheets were the norm instead of a miracle. I'm not just talking about adjusting for surgeons' quirks and OCD here. You can ask one staffer to compile all the cards uniformly or you can assign everyone to be a specialty leader, and you'll still see glitches in your preference sheets, like a large Richardson retractor listed for a lap chole.
- Doc of the Month. We wish our surgery departments would start giving out "Doctor of the Month" awards. They could put up a photo display, reserve a parking space, the whole bit, for whoever treats their OR staff with the most respect and starts the most cases on time. At the very least, this could encourage good behavior.
- A new leader in SPD. When you pull a tray that has instruments missing from it, it makes you wonder who's minding the store in sterile processing. I'd hire scrub techs and RNs to run that department. This dynamic duo would be sure to deliver every set perfectly, or else they'd be called onto the OR carpet. Then maybe we could reassign the reprocessing techs, who are used to heavy lifting, to transport and transfer patients.
- Wireless headsets. We circulators want wireless headsets, like the ones that salespeople in big-box stores wear, so we can be in on every discussion at the field, especially among those ortho docs who wear the astronaut suits. We could also get hints on what's coming up in the next case from the nurses station to prepare ourselves, or trade gossip when the current case runs long.
- Pre-op scanner. Know what would really be helpful to pre-op nurses? A Star Trek-style scanner that would alert them to what's still needed before the patient is rolled into the OR. Picture this: "Checklist complete, scan the patient OK, consents signed, test results registered. Oops, underwear still on, that's going to be an issue for this D&C. And, uh-oh, multiple piercings with the jewelry still in at the surgical site."
- Remote-controlled OR. Before I retire, I want to work in a remote-controlled OR. The remote control will turn all of the technology on at once. It will move heavy equipment into place, and transport stretchers into and out of the room. A shock collar could summon a missing surgeon to the OR when the case is ready, and gently remind him when he's behaving like a drama queen. The circulator will be the keeper of the remote, but then, you probably didn't need me to tell you that.
- More nursing students in the OR. At times, the OR gets overrun, and we really ought to put limits on the number of visitors the room can accommodate. More than anything, though, we want to see more nursing students in the OR. Send us as many as you've got and let us teach them the good, the bad and the best things about working in surgery. We're admittedly territorial, but we'd welcome the opportunity to add new members to our quirky but passionate family.