The gown card reads ‘Treating the paperwork instead of the patient.’
Picture this: an OR that has all the lights on because this is an open case. The back table is full of instrumentation such as scissors, and pens, even replacement pages. There are electronic components carefully laid out. The “patient” on the table is a charting computer with its guts hanging out and a screen that has been blanked out. The surgeon snaps out ‘We’re losing it!’ as she frantically tries to stuff the electronics back into the computer.
You, the circulator, is sitting at the back of the room with the real patient and paying attention to their needs and wants.
I know I have written about this before, and it remains a serious judgement issue.
Some nurses are hell bent on getting their charting done and not paying attention to the field. They are chart first and let the field take care of itself. Um, they can’t, because they are sterile.
I find this especially true in nurses who have gone straight to the OR from college. For them, charting is the holy grail. After all, if you didn’t chart it, you didn’t do it has been bashed into their brains forever. I know. I had it bashed into my brain too and then I worked the floor for a year prior to being an OR nurse. And as a floor nurse, you have tasks to undertake and charting to do, but the tasks come first.
But which floor wants to train a nurse just to lose them to a specialty? It is expensive to train a nurse.
I have a radical thought. In order to chart, a nurse actually has to engage with the patient and DO something.
Charting can wait. Especially when the field needs something.
Your phone can wait. I’ve been an OR nurse a long time, pre-smartphone supremacy (that means before 2007) and I will tell you that the biggest distractor in the room is not the charting, it is the smart phone.
Phone, charting. They both mean the same.
It means that the patient, who is the sole reason that the circulator is in the room and charting to begin with, is the loser in the attention wars.
Don’t let your patient become a casualty to not paying attention to the field.