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Early start

Monday 11th June 2012 07:30 Today we had an early start as we wanted to arrive when all the theatre staff would be arriving. This meant that we could see how the day would be organised and also introduce ourselves before any cases begun.

We arrived a little early and not many people were about. I took Terhi to the equipment room as I remembered that’s where the nurses are likely to be getting the equipment they needed for the day. In there we found a nurse and introduced ourselves. She advised us to bleep the theatre coordinator to see what theatre would be best to spend the day in.

I bleeped the theatre coordinator who advised she was in handover but that she would come and find us later. The theatre we had used the telephone to bleep from was starting to fill with staff. We introduced ourselves and spoke to two nurses who advised they had only been working at in the theatres since January. We asked if they minded us hanging around the theatre for the morning and they said that was fine. One of the nurses advised us to go to the tea room for a coffee as they hadn’t sent for the patient yet and it would be some time before anything began to happen. We took her advice and went to the staff tearoom.

After a while we headed back only to be informed that there was no ITU bed and therefore the operation couldn’t go ahead at present. We decided to see if there was another theatre that we could spend time in. One of them already had an operation in progress, however  a nurse was stood outside at our time of passing and once we explained who we were she said she would ask if it was ok for us to go in.

We were allowed in and slowly introduced ourselves to the team members, being careful not to cause too much disruption. Everyone was very pleasant and the consultant anaesthetist, registrar anaesthetist and OPD were all very interested in the project. They all gave us there thoughts on communication within the operating theatre. The OPD in particular felt that the system was too hierarchal and that this caused problems. The anaesthetist felt that there was too much management dictating to the system and not enough shop floor staff. All of them agreed that communication was very important within the operating theatre.

Once again the staff were intrigued to learn I had been a theatre practitioner myself and we discussed my previous employment and fellow colleagues we knew.

During the operation I noticed the scrub nurse make a request in my direction whilst her head was still looking down. When I didn’t respond she looked up and then made the request again and looked in the direction of the circulating nurse. I guess she must have presumed I was the circulator due to seeing the colour of my scrubs in her peripheral vision. This made me think about the communication aspect of our project.

After the operation was finished we wanted to speak to the consultant surgeon and introduce ourselves, however before we had had a chance to notice he had already removed his gown and slipped out the door.

We hung around for the next operation. Fortunately this surgeon had turned up early and we were able to have an informal chat to him about what we were doing and what his next operation involved. This procedure was interesting as it was incredibly quick and only required the nurse to set up the instrumentation but not scrub for it. I remembered procedure like this were only a few instruments were needed which the surgeon was happy to do alone.

We decided to leave after this as the next three operations were to be the same and now that we had acquainted ourselves we didn’t want to get in the way. On our way out we thanked everyone and advised them we would be back soon.

Please see the theatre diaries page of this website for all of the diary entries.

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