Tips for New OR Nurses
It’s your first day as an OR nurse. You have always dreamed of this day, of finally getting to work in a job you love. You remember being awed every time you assisted during operations back in nursing school, you remember telling yourself that you will become an OR nurse no matter what, you remember everything you’ve been through just to get to where you are right now. And you’re finally here, ecstatic and excited. But wait, there’s also a bit of anxiety flowing in your veins right now. Now what? What do you do? How will you be able to do this? What should you expect? What will happen if you mess up?
Below are some tips for newbies to get them through their first days in the OR:
Expect the unexpected
Accept the fact that no matter how much you study, no matter how long you have been in the profession there will always be some things that will surprise you, things that you haven’t seen before. Once you’ve accepted this, it will be easier to handle. You have to expect the worst case scenario for you to be prepared and to know how to handle it when it happens.
Observe and learn.
Each surgeon has their preferences, each case has their needs. Though it may seem at first, familiarize yourself with these preferences. Take down notes, observe keenly. Learn where to get things. Acquaint yourself with the equipment and materials used in the OR. Learn the procedures, how they are done and why they are done. Set a learning goal each week. You will not only learn in no time, but it will also help you from scrambling and cramming during cases.
Read, read, read
Learning does not end upon nursing school graduation. No, just no. Not because you’re already a Registered Nurse, you’re exempted from opening your book and learning. No. Identify cases you are not-so-familiar with. Jot those down and find time to read all about them. Keep yourself abreast with nursing updates. Do not let yourself be left out just because you thought you were already at the finish line.
Tell yourself that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed
Yes, there’s a lot to read, tons to learn. It might feel that you have so much to do in so little time, so much on your shoulders, but breathe. Learn to take things slowly. One step at a time. Focus on one thing before another. Allow yourself the time to absorb things first before proceeding to the next big thing. You’ll get through this.
Ask when unsure
Never, never act on something you are not sure of. In case of doubt, ask. If you do not know what to do, ask.Ask who you can approach with your concerns. Remember that lives are at stake in the healthcare profession. No question is stupid. Ask for clarifications.
Understand that the OR is different from the other specialties
You might feel uncomfortable at first, but after a while, you will get comfortable. Yes, the OR is very much different from the wards. Things might be a bit difficult at the start. But don’t worry, in time you will get everything right. Some say that it takes about a year for one to feel competent and confident when in this specialization.