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Behind Closed Doors: You Might Be Having a Bad Day If...
When everything that can go wrong actually does.
Paula Watkins
Publish Date: June 2, 2016   |  Tags:   Opinion
frustrated face GRRR Some days nothing goes right.

There are bad days on the job, and then there are days when nothing goes right. Things get so bad that you question your abilities as an OR nurse. Here are some signs that you might be having a bad day.

  • For the third day, your badge won't clock you in. Every day you call about it and every day they say they'll fix it.
  • There are no scrubs in your average size. There are XXL and XS. There is always XS. I don't think I've worked with an XS person in 25 years. Who orders stuff like this?
  • You went home yesterday assigned to Room 3 with the surgeon you love to work with. You come to work today and there are 3 more cases added to the 5 that are already in Room 2 and you're now assigned to that room. To compound things, you don't care for the surgeon and he's not particularly fond of you. Oh, by the way, those 3 add-ons aren't pulled either.
  • The first case is a shoulder scheduled for 0700. You are set up for failure. Your shift starts at 0630. You aren't to clock in before 0623. Thirty minutes isn't long enough to set up for a shoulder. You'll be late with a 0700 start time and late with the following 4. To make matters worse, at 0715 your sadistic charge nurse hits the door with the stretcher and your 0700 patient. She snidely tells you she'll get the patient settled while you continue to search for the things you don't seem to have in the room yet.
  • This surgeon's preference sheet hasn't been updated in 5 years. There hasn't been a new person working here in 5 years. All of the old people here know what he wants before he has asked for it. Guess where that leaves you.
  • You hang 2 3000-liter bags at once with 2 more ready to go for the arthroscopy, but 45 minutes later you hear a sound you never want to hear. You jump and quickly look at the pump. Tiny bubbles. Grrr. Grab another bag of saline and hang it as fast as you can.
  • While struggling to hang more saline, you notice your feet are sloshing around in water on the floor. Of course it's hard to see because the surgeon wants the room pitch black. Getting down and looking much closer, you see that somehow the suction tubing has disconnected from the suction apparatus. Your best guess, there is 6,000 liters of NaCl on the floor. You want to abandon ship.
  • When you are up to your acetabulum in alligators (certainly possible with all the saline on the floor), Godzilla the charge nurse tells you that she needs someone to stay over to finish this room. You agree to stay over, but only if doctor "Wreck-It Ralph" takes a Midol or triple-strength ibuprofen for his PMS behavior.
  • Your EMR program is possessed by evil spirits. So far it's kicked you out of the system twice and frozen the screen once. You're behind in the redundant charting and documenting implant information in 4 different places.
  • The surgeon is snapping photos like this shoulder is America's Next Top Model. You look at the printer and there isn't anything coming out. You get down there with a flashlight and see a paper jam. Your initial reaction is to ask "What's next?" but it's better never to ask this question. It's like saying the Q word. As in: "Sheila, what a quiet shift it has been."

Woe is me
Are there lessons to be learned from these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days? Or are they simply reminders that you're only as good as your last case? OSM