Behind Closed Doors


Are You Ready for Some Football?

I never used to think about work while watching football. Mostly I'd think about the Arkansas Razorbacks' 10 Cotton Bowls, 13 Southwest Conference championships and 21 wins over Texas. But I've started to see how the sport could relate to OR nursing and how a day in surgery might be like the big game. Can you see it? As the clock ticks away, the (surgical) team lines up on the (sterile) field ? I wonder if there's an OR fight song?

  • Kickoff. It's always nice when the day starts on time, at 0730, without too many preliminaries.
  • Running start. Maybe we'll begin the case without being tripped up by a late surgeon, contaminated items or a fly in the room.
  • Passing the ball. "May I have the specimen, please, and is this the right or left testicle?"
  • Incomplete pass. "It's neither. The patient had no testicles."
  • Out of bounds. Derogatory remarks about the personal life of a male co-worker.
  • Fumble. Dropped instruments keep the circulator busy.
  • Fair catch. "Yes, doctor, I see six stones in this strainer."
  • Huddle. The surgeon's conferring with the anesthesia provider, circulator and scrub about what he's going to need for the procedure ahead.
  • First down. That's one surgery out of the way. With three more chances to score, you just might get out of here at 1500.
  • Interception. Until you're asked to relieve a co-worker who never returns to the OR.
  • Punt. When the day shift doesn't finish its cases on time, it kicks them over into the evening shift.
  • Time out. Stopping the clock to ensure you're working on the right patient with the right procedure at the right operative site, every time.
  • Excessive time outs. "Would you pleeeease get out of the lounge and do some work?"
  • Delay of game. Nope, sorry, the frozen isn't back yet. Unfortunately, in the OR we can't cut to a beer commercial.
  • Offensive holding. Dr. Touchy-Feely and his illegal use of hands are fast approaching my line of scrimmage. Ten-yard penalty. (Try it again and you'll see some "necessary" roughness.)
  • False start. I called the surgeon's cell phone. He said, "I'm on my way, go to the room and put the patient to sleep." But he knows we can't do that.
  • Too many men on the field. The med student, the PA, the surgeon's personal scrub, the hospital's scrub, the radiology tech, the anesthesia provider, the vendor's rep: they're all here, and the circulator's trying to keep track of each one and meet all their demands.
  • Holding, illegal block above the waist. Yes, we're both scrubbed in and in very close proximity. However, you need to get your elbow out of my above-the-waist zone.
  • Touchdown (and extra point). It's 1500, you're finished, it's Friday and you're not on call. You're out of there.

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