- Observe punctuality. Always report early for your clinicals. Arriving in the nick of time will only heighten your anxiety.
- As much as possible, familiarize yourself with the O.R. setup and the procedure you are about to assist. Ample preparation will boost your confidence.
- Conduct yourself in a respectful, professional manner. Be courteous to the O.R. staff, even to the orderlies.
- If unsure of a particular task, ask for guidance. Even if you have prepared for your O.R. rotation, you might forget how to go about the most simple things like scrubbing or gloving. If this happens, do not hesitate to ask for supervision. Ask help from your clinical instructor or from the O.R. nurse.
- Do not make unnecessary comments in the presence of a patient, even those under general anaesthetic. Basic courtesy dictates that you respect the patient, anaesthetised or not. If possible, even if the O.R. staff engage in it, keep the unrelated social banter to a minimum.
- Avoid bringing cellular phones inside the O.R. theatre. Also, if you know what's good for you and the patient, you won't even consider bringing a camera inside the operating room.
- Report for your O.R. rotation on a full stomach and an empty bladder as the procedure you are about to assist may take a couple of hours.
- Take extra effort to hydrate yourself before the start of your O.R. rotation to reduce the risk of fainting while assisting during a surgical procedure.
- Periodically contract your leg muscles to reduce venous pooling. This is effective in preventing hypotensive episodes due to long periods of standing.
If I remember correctly, my operating room rotations were the most nerve-wracking. During my first day of exposure in the operating theatre, I was so fidgety that I managed to break a glass syringe. I also ripped a pair of surgical gloves to the chagrin of my clinical instructor.
Although we were made to perform return demonstrations on gowning, gloving, scrubbing as well as do advanced reading on common surgical instruments before O.R. rotations, what preparation I had prior to the exposure didn't lessen my anxiety. I was a total klutz that day and was more than happy to assist with just one procedure. In fact, considering how I felt during that time, I would've opted to just clean the soiled surgical instruments without thought of accomplishing my O.R. completion forms.
Since we all know that nursing students have to compete for very limited slots in the operating theatre, it is best to make the most out of each and every rotation in the O.R. And since it has been quite sometime since my last entry in Ward Class' Nursing School 101 category, here are a few things to remember during operating room rotations: