Circulators, down to the brass tacks

My mom called me on the way home from her travel job today.

And during our conversation, I could hear the traffic on the freeway on the drive.

During one conversational lull, I could hear a car with a big engine rack up the tachs.

That means the car, probably driven by a man, impatiently revved his engine and passed my mom on the right.

This is legal in our state.

And probably because mom was driving with the speed of traffic, no more, no less.

I’ve seen her drive my entire life.

I remarked upon the sudden, aggressive sound, and she laughed.

And said that there was no real place to go for him, but the car could go on with its bad self.

And then she said something that struck me as the core of what a circulator does.

The circulator is the RN in the room who is outside of the sterile field but watches to make sure that all is happening according to plan, and to plan for when it is not.

Mom said, “You know I watch what everyone else is doing…”

And I finished, “Because they certainly don’t.”

She was talking about other drivers.

Which is one of the reasons that I don’t worry about her driving in ice and snow.

However, truer words were never spoken about the circulator role.

We watch what everyone else in the room is doing: keeping an eye on time, on the suction amount, on the anesthesia team and how they are reacting or not reacting to the vitals, on the field to make sure there are no needs.

The circulator does many things.

But mostly, they watch so that the others in the room don’t have to.

This is why the circulator is the boss of the room.

But the driver is still an asshole.

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