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Behind Closed Doors: Surgery’s Backyard Blowout
If you hosted a BBQ, which role would each surgical team member play?
Paula Watkins, RN
Publish Date: July 14, 2022   |  Tags:   Opinion
Dr Griller

One of the quintessential symbols of summer is the All-American cookout. From the smokey grill to the endless supply of ice cold drinks partygoers down to beat the heat, the sights, sounds and smells of a good-ol’ backyard BBQ is July personified. You can probably conjure up memorable images of cookouts from past summers with friends and family — and that loud guy in the too-tight “Sun’s Out, Gun’s Out” T-shirt nobody will own up to inviting — but put those aside for just a moment. Instead, imagine yourself enjoying a summer cookout with your entire surgical team. Will your clinical comrades be able to kick back and relax or will they default to some version of their OR selves? My hunch is the latter.

OR supervisor. You’re in charge of ensuring the whole shindig goes off without a hitch. Your ultra-organized self creates an hourly schedule and sets a starting time, so everyone knows exactly when they need to arrive. You even remember to tell the surgeon the party starts 15 minutes earlier than it actually will so he’s only 15 minutes late when he shows up “on time.”

Pre-op nurse. Make sure the ribs, thighs and shoulders are prepped and ready to go under the knife. Work with two identifiers to make sure you’re dealing with the right parts: the brand name and “best by” date.

Surgeon. You might have a problem with punctuality, but your attention to detail, perfectionism and knife work make you ideally suited to take charge of the grill. Plus, we’ve all seen how masterfully you manipulate the Bovie to heat tissue without burning it. 

Anesthesia provider. We’re hoping your multimodal cocktails will keep us relaxed without impeding our ability to ambulate. Can’t wait to taste the concoction you’ll be serving. Hope it numbs the pain from another long day of surgery.

Circulator. Be ready to get pulled in a million different directions and jump in to help wherever and whenever you’re needed. Oh, can you go grab an extra skewer? Looks like one was missing from the grilling set. 

Scrub tech. You truly understand the importance of putting everything in its right place, so you’re on the hook for setting up the spread on the tables in the back of the yard. Make sure Dr. Griller’s tools are clean and in good working order. It might be best to soak them after they’re used to make scrubbing them later easier.

First assistant. Head on over there and make sure Dr. Griller has what he needs. Anticipate his next move and help him flip the meat as efficiently as you do rooms on a full day of back-to-back-to-back cases.

Materials manager. Please bring the disposable supplies — we’ll need paper plates, plastic utensils and napkins. And don’t forget the indelible markers so we can sign our names to the correct Solo Cup in order to avoid wrong-person swigging. 

PACU nurse. We’re going to need you to help us recover from enjoying too much of anesthesia’s cocktails in the summer heat. Make sure everyone has an escort and a safe ride home. Best to have your finger on the Uber app just in case.

Hope you had a festive Fourth, dear readers, and got the chance to enjoy some backyard barbequing with your friends and family, including the one you work alongside everyday. OSM

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