Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dr. Orthochick: Scrub Nurses

Top Tricks Used By Scrub Nurses to Make You Look Bad

1. They say they have your gloves but then when you walk in after getting scrubbed they say "why didn't you get your gloves for me?"

2. Overuse of the phrase "you almost touched something sterile!" Even when you are sterile

3. Ignoring you when you ask for scissors so you look unprepared when your attending finishes tying a knot

4. Telling you you desterilized yourself when you very clearly didn't

5. Asking you if you know how to scrub in


  1. Did these really happen? because I never experienced anything this bad even as a med student...

    1. I was scolded silly as a med student. Not all of these, sure, but, man... In the beginning I was so scared I used to walk as a ninja.

  2. I definitely got some of these as a med student, I especially love #3!

  3. When I worked in a clinical cardiac research unit studying the intra-aortic balloon pump (yeah, I'm THAT old), one of our favorite tricks was to allow the med student to listen to the patient's heart while the balloon was on. They would start by closing their eyes to concentrate. Then, their eyes would fly open with dilated pupils, pounding heart, shaking hands, and dry lips and throat - holy guacamole - what had she just heard? The med student would report her findings to Dr. Heartthrob with the suggestion that the patient might be headed for emergency surgery. Dr. Heartthrob would calmly lead the poor, unsuspecting med student through a complex differential before having us turn off the pump for another listen.

    OK - not that funny. Maybe you had to be there. Tricia

  4. Re #2 - Story. So it is midnight, I'm on trauma call. Unstable pt is in the OR, having large masses of necrotic bowel removed. Enterotomy in descending colon is made....feculent material is everywhere in the peritoneal cavity. Everywhere. The OR smells like a pigsty. I'm using my left hand to retract down by the pubis, while the resident is both elbows deep in bowel with his back towards me. I face his back, and hold my clean right hand just below chest level, because that is the only position I can keep on retracting from (without lying on the mayo stand, or placing my chest against the resident's back). I was very proud of myself for remaining sterile in such a difficult position. Furthermore, the attending had literally sweated through his sterile gown, and sweat dripping from his forehead had just splashed into the open abdomen.

    Tech decides not to comment on that. Instead, she says: "Med student, watch out! You are almost touching the resident's back!"

    I look at her. The attending looks at her. (Resident is still elbow deep in open bowel). He says, "Tech, this abdomen is filled with sh**. What do you think is sterile?"

    She didn't say another word to me...

  5. Best response: Burst into tears and tell them not to make fun of you just because you can't have kids anymore.