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Behind Closed Doors: And the Winner Is …
Let's recognize the good, bad and downright ridiculous aspects of OR life.
Paula Watkins, RN
Publish Date: September 16, 2021   |  Tags:   Opinion OR Excellence
The Paulas

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already seen the well-deserving winners of the 2021 OR Excellence Awards. Because the editors of this fine publication didn’t feel the need to solicit input from their backpage banterer when they reviewed the nominations, I’ve decided to create my own accolades: The Paula Awards! Hopefully someday they’ll be mentioned with the same reverence as the Emmys, Grammys, Oscars and Tonys. Multitalented celebrities try to collect all four of those — the EGOT, they call it — but adding a Paula to the mix would give them something else to shoot for. The PEGOT? The GETOP? I’ll work on that. In the meantime, the envelopes please! 

Best Actor in a Leading Role goes to the selfless doc who knew his limitations and didn’t allow ego to cloud his judgement when he asked me to get in touch with the surgeon on call from a competing clinic because he was too sick to complete a case. 

Best Director goes to the surgical administrator who creates the monthly staff schedule, sets the budget, schmoozes surgeons and sits with supply vendors. Before noon. On a Monday. The administrator’s work often goes on behind the scenes, but they wear many hats as they collaborate with department heads and guide their surgical stars to success.

Best Choreography goes to the hardworking circulators who waltz from one OR to the next, pirouette to avoid oncoming colleagues, tap their toes when surgeries run late and take well-deserved bows when busy days end without a hitch. 

Best New Artist goes to the 20-year-old surgical tech talking incessantly about his crypto venture and how he’s going to be a millionaire and retire in five years. It’s good to have a dream, but your captive audience would rather you wait until you’ve made that million before crowing about your good fortune. Besides, we’d all like to retire in five years, when social security is supposed to kick in. On second thought, what was that about the crypto-something-or-other?

Outstanding Comedy Series goes to the scenes that play out on those stressful days in the pressure cooker of surgery when slapstick humor is the best way to cope. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

Best Play goes to the materials manager who quietly watched the nurse repeatedly take the last supplies from shelfs, closets, boxes or bags without telling anyone. Perhaps that nurse will remember to let the materials manager know it’s time to reorder now that she’s been assigned to look for expired labels, track par levels and restock supply areas.

Outstanding Special Effects goes to the staffers who always seem to disappear when a room needs to be turned over after a messy ortho case, the leg of an obese patient needs to lifted or the circulator asks for volunteers to work overtime.  

Best Picture goes to the radiology tech who somehow maneuvers C-arms within the tight confines of the sterile field to hit taped T-marks and capture the images surgeons need to ensure implants are placed correctly.  

Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series goes to (drumroll please) … each and every one of you! This past year has been filled with suspense, high emotional intensity and dramatic plot twists. Through it all, you’ve showed up at call time for the role of a lifetime. You’ve turned in a command performance that’s generating buzz and critical acclaim. It’ll be a tough act to follow, but keep on mastering your craft if you want to take home surgery’s second most coveted award. OSM

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