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Behind Closed Doors: My Holiday Wish List
These gifts would make life in the OR a whole lot easier.
Paula Watkins, RN
Publish Date: December 20, 2021   |  Tags:   Opinion

I’m feeling festive for the first time in forever. My Christmas tree went up the day after Halloween this year. That’s how excited I am for the holiday season. Granted, it’s an artificial one — not my standard farm-fresh six-footer — but it’s a tree, nonetheless. And to be honest, fake ferns are pretty darn convenient. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to the water-consuming, needle-dispersing headache of the real thing.

In fact, I may finally start a tradition I’ve been toying with for years: Placing the fully decorated artificial arborescent in the coat closet after the holidays are over. That way, when ’tis the season rolls around again (can you believe it’s December already?), all I have to do is open the closet, pull out the tree and plop it down in the living room. Instead of an entire Saturday afternoon spent stringing lights and hanging ornaments, it would take me mere minutes to deck the halls. A nurse to my core, I’m all about efficiency!

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any of the other diverse celebrations that make up this magical time of the year, here’s what would make the holiday season special for surgical nurses everywhere. 

Electronic gadgets. It’s so frustrating when surgical equipment on the fritz blames user errors for the issues when clearly it’s the devices themselves that are glitching. Rebooting EMRs is too time-consuming when surgeons are ready to cut, so I’m constantly jotting down notes and then inputting the information into the system when it comes back online. What’s the point of electronic charting that’s supposed to save time and frustration if I’m doing twice the amount of work and feeling twice as frustrated? What if nurses had their very own hospital-issued iPads? I’m putting it out to the universe and hoping the holiday fairies are listening.

Gift cards. I wish all those long-delayed back-ordered surgical supplies we’ve all so desperately been waiting on were available through Amazon. We could place orders with just a few taps on our iPads and pick up the packages in the lobby in hours. Online shopping has spoiled us all. Remember paying almost as much for the things we ordered in catalogues for three-week shipping?

Stocking stuffers. No, not those socks hung by the chimney with care. We hardworking nurses need compression hose to support our habits of running around the sterile field and eating on the run.

Staff parties. Where are all the nurses? Nursing schools are still graduating them, and yet every facility seems to be facing critical shortages. Charge, super, direct, BSN, MSN, PhD … whatever. We don’t care about the titles and degrees. Just send us some warm bodies, stat.

Hallmark moments. You know that nurse who makes you laugh so hard you can barely breathe? What about the colleagues who are more like family than co-workers? How about the patient who thanked you with tears in his eyes as he was discharged? Life isn’t always wrapped up in neat little bows, but we all deserve to experience the joy of simply living.

If none of these wishes come true, then at the very least I hope you have a happy, healthy and utterly enjoyable holiday season.

See ya’ll in 2022! OSM