Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Surgical Technologist Week

It seems as if everything has a special week dedicated to it...icecream, milkshakes, donuts, pirates..you name it, it's celebrated!  Well, this week we celebrate National Surgical Technologist week.  I've been a surgtech for 42yrs.  I was in the first class at Triton college for this career.   I was even on the front of the college brochure for it!  I don't have a copy of it or I probably would put it on the blog.  Frankly, you'd never know it was me because, of course, I had a mask, hat, gown and gloves on! Like these pics;
Notice the date? 1998! Time sure flies! I'm sure you can guess where I am!
 I've had the privilege to see surgery go through many changes in the last 40yrs and then go back and pick up some techniques from the "old days".  
I've helped train many RN's to scrub.  Nurses are only given one day in surgery to just observe.  None are trained to be a "scrub nurse".  Techs are trained to scrub and know all the sterile techniques and setups for surgery.  I enjoy the training process and it feels good when they "get  it" and then are able to be on their own.
We work in hazardous conditions when it comes to cords!  One of the reasons my knees got bad was from tripping and hitting the OR floor on a few occasions!
It's pretty overwhelming to outsiders to be in an OR and see all the equipment and also find a place to stay out of the way of the sterile fields....we make sure they're situated in a safe place.  I've been kidded about being a "Sterile Nazi" when students or sales reps would get too close to my back table! Back off!
I've worked with really wonderful Physicians...
And Fun and crazy staff members!
Best friends too!  This is Donna's 45th year at our hospital.  I've see our institution go from a rural hospital to  part of University Hospitals of Cleveland.  Changes are in the air as the merger becomes final in December.  Hopefully, it will be a good move.  Medicine is a business.  Dr. Welby is gone and Docs are now hospital employees just like us...only with a much bigger paycheck!  I'll be done with my career in a few years.  It's a physical job with long hours standing at the OR table and sometimes longer days and nights on call.  I've been with friends who have requested me to be there when they have an operation...it's good to see a familiar face! I've  been there for first breaths of a newborn to last breathes of a patient.  Probably would classify those moments as truly spiritual ones.  Sometimes the job was hard on my family, especially the kids.  I missed some school activities and survived on no sleep!  But all in all it's a wonderful career.  I've learned so much about the human body.  It's amazing how resilient it is even when we treat it so badly.  The nurses I've worked with are really hard working and dedicated.  We snipe at each other when the pressure gets to us but we're strong allies when outside troubles come our way.  We laugh, we cry, we swear we can't do another case until the next emergency comes along and we start over again!  Happy Surgical Tech week to all my fellow Techies!  And when we meet outside the hospital don't forget to say our famous line: "Gee, I didn't recognize you with your clothes on!"


Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, YaYa!

As you observe National Surgical Tech week again this year I will remind you what I have told you other years. When you take us behind the scenes, show us your work environment and the other professionals with whom you work, and explain all that your job entails, I have tremendous admiration for you and your colleagues. Your chosen career is challenging, the hours long and the sacrifices many. I doubt many people would be cut out for it. I applaud you and Donna for sticking with it all these years. In that span of time you have seen it all and helped countless people of all ages. God bless you, dear friend!

betty said...

LOL with your last line :) Such a wonderful career you have! I'm on the other side of it typing up what the doctors did, I'm typing up they are prepping and draping and making their incisions with a #15 blade or #10 blade and you are handing them that equipment. I could probably type a cholecystectomy in my sleep; you could probably picture it in your head with all that is involved with that "minor" procedure. I'll never forget years ago (forgive me if I told this story already) working for cardiac surgeons and needing to talk to one of them about something and called the OR to ask to leave a message for them to call at the end of the case. The OR said I could be put into the operating room and talk to them directly. I was stunned and flabbergasted. It was funny to hear the music in the background and to be able to communicate with them when they were doing intricate surgery like that. I do remember those times though when they weren't taking calls into the operating room or when the nurse practitioner was called into it to scrub in.....always bad news.....

Happy week for you and yours!


gin said...

You've had a career that was certainly not boring. You gave a great description. Happy Surgical Tech week to you!

Kay G. said...

What a wonderful post and what a wonderful career you have!
Ha! Didn't recognize you with your clothes on!
God bless you!

acorn hollow said...

my sister in law is an RN in the operating room in NH for years. When husband had to have emergency surgery years ago she was on call. they were both very surprised to see each other.

Linda said...

What a neat blog post! Your career sounds very exciting, and life saving. I've had a couple of surgeries in my life, the most concerning was brain surgery 5 years ago.(They found out I had one! LOL) My surgeon was amazing, and the nurses I saw in recovery and ICU were great. Nursing is a great career. What would we do with out you?

Donna said...

Your post left me with a tear in my eye....everyone loves your wonderful scrubbing help in the OR! You have expertise unequalled, as well as Kim and Carla. My admiration is great.
Your writing is great as well! How many times have I said "you ought to write a book......" with your clothes on. Love ya, D.

Susan Anderson said...

I so admire what you do for a living, my friend.
And I have a feeling you are the best of the best.


Hilary said...

You and your colleagues are among the true angels who walk the earth. Those beautiful, dedicated and caring people behind the scenes and behind the masks. You help make our world go 'round. Thank you for that. Cheers!