Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tour of the OR

Tuesday after three hours of lecture it was finally the time we’ve (my class) all been waiting for this week…time for the big tour of the Operating Room.  Our clinical group headed down the long hallway from our school building to the operating floor of the connected hospital.  We stepped beyond the double doors of the Restricted Area where “authorized personnel” are only allowed to go, to see what really goes on. 
The first thing we saw were more hallways with office doors and at the end of that hallway we saw a cart that had rows and shelves of different size scrubs all the same boring color of a medium shade of blue.  We were asked to grab a size that fit us and go into an adjacent locker room to get dressed.  There were nine of us trying to fit into a small locker room and good thing we weren’t too shy because we had to get down to undies and bras next to one another.  After we were all dressed appropriately we grabbed a cap to pull back all of our wild hair and shoe covers. 

We were brought to the OR #1 where there was a robotic machine similar to a giant praying mantis with long arms.  I do not recall the name of the machine but it has the capabilities to do surgery guided by a surgeon behind two small pincher controllers on the other side of the room.  This machine does hysterectomies and prostatectomies just to name a couple.  I was surprised at the amount of questions I asked regarding the small details of what was involved with surgery of this sort.  I even asked one of the nurses taking us on this tour to get behind the controls to show us what it would look like if a surgeon was sitting there.  I like visuals.
Next we just walked up and down to show us what the scrub sinks looked like and then it happened…we walked past a room that had an actual surgery going on.  I must say after glancing through the window it looks nothing like Grey’s Anatomy, the top surgeon wasn’t standing there making light conversation with just a scrub top on and his chesty hair sticking out.  These people were dressed head-to-toe with very little skin showing.  The surgery that we pasted by and witnessed was a Left Total Knee Replacement, according the RN giving us the tour, she said the people in the room have to wear what looks like Hazmat face shields in case of flying debris like bone that could hit them in the face or head.  YUCK! 

What I saw was a patient’s left leg being operated on; the skin looked like an unhealthy tan color which later I figured was un-oxygenated skin flapped open while the surgeon was standing and doing his thing.  To the left of the surgeon I saw on a cart, three gauze rolls about 2” in diameter and 3” wide soaked with blood.  My girlfriend in class shouts out that it looks like when she goes hunting and the deer is “quartered”.  She had no problems, while I was second guessing my interest in the OR setting professionally.
Will I ever figure out what I want to do when I graduate?  Lastly we were shown the PACU with patients waiting in preop and patients who were recovering in postop bays. 

Ultimately the experience was cool, and I’ll be having MY time observing on 12/5.  What I thought was funny, was the preference of music that the nurse made mention to us.  She said that while the ortho docs liked Rock music, the cardiologists preferred no music all.  How funny that any professional doing work in a surgery suite has the option to listen to music at all.


  1. Oh my word, I was picturing in my head with your descriptions and almost felt myself getting nauseated for you! Yuck! Glad you had a good time though....

  2. Yeah, I don't know that I could do surgery/OR either...just not really my thing. I went into this whole deal with an interest in OB...and each time I think about something else, I always end up back with that OB interest. I'm thinking that might actually be my thing. So looking forward to OB class next semester!

  3. Love the OR that is my goal. It was the da Vinci Robot that you saw. For the knee add a ton of Betadine to that skin flap and that is what gave it the weird tan color. Oh I love it yes I do! I spent 3 or 4 shifts in the OR in semester 2 and was hooked. Trauma, skin graft, amputation, a few colys, an appy, a wound excising and drain placement too.

  4. Dominique-I had a good time to be able to venture somewhere new in the hospital, but that leg was pretty nasty.

    Kendra-I have OB next semester too, and I have a small interest in OB, but not enough to say sign me up.

    Christine-I just don't know if the OR is for me, but I will give it a whole hearty try in Dec. for my observation date and I'll let you all know what I think.