Monday, March 22, 2010

"Gen Surg"

Today was my first day of theatre in the neighbouring town – I had to drive the 50km because the general surgeons don’t operate in my town on convenient dates. I forgot to call last week to check what time to arrive, so I asked a classmate who said “arrive at 8am for ward rounds”.

I got up super early and got there at 7:30am, just in case I also needed scrubbing training (scrub nurses are sometimes very particular about this). For some reason my swipe card didn’t work for the car park, so I had to park my precious car on the road, but that was ok. And then, because I don’t know my way around the hospital, I thought I would use the bathroom in the Clinical School – my swipe card worked this time, but then I forgot how to turn off the alarm, which started bleeping and soon moved on to wailing before I managed to subdue it. Not a good start.

I finally made it into the hospital at about a quarter to eight, and set off in search of the surgical ward. This happened to be the only ward with no lights on and not a soul in sight. Feeling more than a little lost, I wandered around until I found a friendly nurse, who sent me to the change rooms to put on some scrubs. After I’d put on said scrubs, I realised that I probably wouldn’t be going to ward rounds, so I found my way back to the break room and waited for somebody to tell me what to do.

This took about an hour and a half – the theatre list didn’t start until 9am. There were 14 people in theatre for the first operation (hernia repair), and I think five of us were students. Having made it this far, I put my hand up to scrub in, and joy oh joy, found myself holding the suction to keep the diathermy smoke away from the surgeon’s eyes.

The next operation was a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, so there was nothing to do except sit quietly in the corner and watch the operation on the screen. And by the time that was finished, it was 1pm and time for me to head back.

Was it worth it? Well ... no.

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