Behind Closed Doors


Career Opportunities

Here in the healthcare field, our central role in the maintenance of the human body sometimes leaves us overlooking the non-medical specialists who keep other things running. Most of the time we don't think about these folks. Then we wake to find, for instance, that the electricity went off and the alarm clock didn't. (The phone still works, though: that's our boss on the line, wondering where the heck we are.) In our defense, I'm sure that those working in non-medical occupations don't spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the work that OR nurses do — that is, not until some part of their body falls off or quits working.

When you think about it, medical and non-medical specialists have a lot in common. With the assistance of my co-worker, Kathleen, and the wonderful crew at my Connecticut assignment, I came up with a few ideas on where you might find your facility's personnel in the yellow pages if they'd chosen another vocation.

  • General surgeon. Auto mechanic. They fix pretty much everything under your hood, from leaks and squeaks to rattles and roars.
  • Cardiovascular surgeon. Pump installation and service. (However, some of them are still striving for that almighty deity position.)
  • Neurosurgeon. Electrician. There is a lot of need for reconnecting loose or damaged wires and repairing short circuits out there.
  • ENT surgeon. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician. Cleaning out the ductwork, especially in the winter months.
  • Family doctor. Handyman, a jack-of-all-trades.
  • Plastic surgeon. Interior decorator or landscaper. Some putty and paint here, a few trees and implants there, and you can put your property back on the market.
  • Orthopedic surgeon. Carpenter. Saws, drills, screws and nails. If it doesn't fit, force it.
  • Gastroenterologist. Septic tank cleaners, flushing out a backed up system.
  • Urologist. Plumber. You can't do much without running water. If your plumbing is in need of a little dam work, a civil engineer might also be helpful.
  • Ophthalmologist. Window washers, helping you to see clearly.
  • Gynecologist. Spelunker (because "manhole technician" is too inaccurate).
  • Dentist. Miner or state road crew member. From a patient's perspective, the drilling and jackhammering feels about the same.
  • Anesthesiologist. Natural gas deliveryman. A utility we can't do without, either in the OR or on a cold night.
  • Radiologist. Portrait photographer. Truly capturing the "inner you."
  • Psychologist/Psychiatrist. IT specialist. If your hard drive is overloaded, maybe some defragmentation is what you need.
  • PACU nurse. Voodoo master. OK, maybe it's not a valid occupation, but resurrecting the dead seems like an accurate description of perioperative nursing.
  • Circulating nurse. Law enforcement. We don't make the rules, we just carry them out.
  • Schedulers and secretaries. Air traffic controllers. Double post or give away a physician's block time just once and watch how many practices circle around you, ready to land at the first opportunity.
  • Scrub techs. Waiters and waitresses. Any way you look at it, they're setting a table, clearing it off and catering to the surgeon's requests.

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