Friday, December 30, 2011

LAMI observation

Hello blog world I realize I’ve been off for most of December but I was in ”study mania” during finals and then our family just got back from vacation to the great state of Texas.  I have so much catching up to do that I made a list.  Now that I’m on break I’ll spread out my blogs a bit so I don’t overwhelm you all too much.
In this blog I’ll mention my exciting time during my OR observation which happened at the beginning of December.  The patient was scheduled to have a laminectomy and discectomy for lumbar stenosis on the L5 region of the back.  The exciting thing about this experience was the fact that I knew the circulating nurse and specifically she requested that I follow her throughout my observation time.  I felt so excited to be asked to come back to see my friend, with her 20 years of experience, in her element. 

The patient was wheeled in awake and talking and then the anesthesia doctor did his thing and the patient was out within minutes.  The nurses, techs, doctor, and PA helped to flip the patient over on his tummy and prepared for surgery.  I was asked to step on a step-stool at the head of the patient so I could have a better view.  The anesthesiologist asked that if I felt woozy to fall backwards and he would catch me but not to fall forwards because I’d land on the patient.  I saw bone flying and just tried to not think of what was happening on a personal level but rather just stay in the moment which helped.

Another thrilling this was that the ortho doc asked me to come opposite of him on the patients other side,  gown up, and come share his double microscope to view what he was doing.  I felt honored and excited, even my nurse friend seemed shocked that I was asked to view the procedure.  The doc showed me the spine under the microscope and pushed it around like it was a rubber band. After he removed some stenosis he asked if I could see better blood flow and I agreed wholeheartedly that I could, even if I didn’t know for sure what I was seeing.

Ultimately the procedure only took about 2.5 hours including the pre and post op times.  While my experience was a positive one, the atmosphere was cold and formal and I don’t think the OR is the place for me because I love interacting way too much with the patients.


  1. I would agree with you about your feelings of the OR. In L&D - working in the OR is part of the job, but I always hated it.

    Seemed to me that *most* (I am generalizing here!) people who work in the OR aren't real "people persons" and prefer their patients out ex was an OR nurse...and he fit that description exactly.

  2. Oh I was just gonna suggest the doctor route again for you! Congrats on not passing out! Proud o' you!

  3. Hi Zazzy, I am so envious you got to watch a laminectomy. I work on an orthopedic/neurology unit (5 more classes and I have my MSN then who knows where GOD's plan will lead me) and take care of patients s/p laminectomy. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

  4. I have been in quite a few cases with my OR observation and I have to say that I loved it the most! If I could have my dream job it would be OR!

  5. That sounds completely exciting and thrilling. I can't WAIT for the hands on part of school. Hm, dealing with patients out cold huh? Sounds like the OR might be the place for me, lol. We'll see.

  6. Very cool! I don't know if I could handle the bone part of surgery. When I worked for a vet many years ago, I always hated the orthopedic surgeries she did...could handle anything else, but the sound of that bone saw....*shudder* Also very cool that the surgeon let you get a closer look at things..always nice to hear of an MD who is nice to nursing students :-)

  7. CC-while the experience was a chance in a lifetime to view someone’s spinal cord up close, the atmosphere was cold and uncomforting. Although it’s a “sterile” environment I wasn’t impressed with the clean-up crew afterwards, cleaning and sweeping bones from the floor and preparing the room for the next patient as quickly as possible.

    Dominique- Doctor…yea right, unfortunately I’m not smart enough to move in that direction and I’m okay with that but thanks for the compliment. The feeling of passing out never happened unlike when I viewed my hubby’s spinal tap. Now that nearly had me kissing the floor.

    Debbie-Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours as well! My time in the OR was thrilling and scary. I just cannot wait to finish school and take my NCLEX so I can see where God wants me to be too! I’ll keep you in my thoughts as you finish up with your MSN.

    Azmomo2-are you interested in being a circulating nurse? What a fun and exciting career especially since it will be different from what you’re doing now and what you’ve done in your past. I hope that turns out for you. When do you start your nursing classes again?

    Candi-I think you’ll love the hands-on part as most of our class did too. The stuff that I still struggle with is the anatomy and cellular level stuff. So pay close attention to that stuff as it will serve you well.

    Kendra –yea that bone stuff is nasty. Either I didn’t hear the saw or thought it was something else otherwise I’m sure I’d have a hard time with it too. My attention must have been caught up in something else like the fact that the room was crowded with 11 other people besides me. The hospital is a teaching hospital so for every area there was a student hanging around.

  8. Isn't OR fun? There's also something strange about medical/nursing people that we can say that something like watching a person get cut up is "fun" isn't it?
    The best procedure I've seen in my career is skin grafting on a severely burned patient. VERY bloody, but very interesting!