Post-it Sunday 10/9/22-finite number of personalities in the OR

The post-it reads ‘there are only 6 or so distinct personalities in the OR, or a combination of them. These comprise your coworkers).

This is actually something I’ve been developing, for years, either to write as an article, or to develop into a book of fairy tales. Or both.

These are the 6 observed personalities of the OR, in no particular order.

1) The Pretty Pretty Princess. This is the one whose makeup is always perfect, their nails are manicured against policy, and they know JUST how to speak to management/surgeons to get what they want. And they ALWAYS get what they want or gets away with behavior that would get you fired. For a fairy tale trope this is the spoiled (sometimes misunderstood) brat.

2) The Call Dog. Also called the call whore in not nice places. This is the one who scoops up unwanted call from all comers. This may be because they love to work, see also Workaholic, or is in need of the money. Caution, this can be dangerous to the department when they are reassigned or leaved. If they leave, no one in the department knows how to function on call. For a fairy tale trope this is the worker bee.

3) The Old Timer. This is the person who has been around the department the longest. And they REMEMBER when X (whatever type 4 is proposing) was tried and it didn’t work! What works is the way we’ve been doing it ever since I got here. This may also be the one who is resistant to new technology or the Electronic Health Record. They want to know why they can’t they just have a paper and pen, for goodness sakes? For a fairy tale trope this is the stuck in the past person who is impeding progress. That progress may be positive, or negative.

4) The IN MY LAST HOSPITAL We Did it so Much Better, We Should do it that Way. This personality type is exhausting to the listener. They are unwilling to learn the ways of their new department and instead always daydreams out loud about the way it used to be in their old place. This may go 2 ways. They are the slow drip against the department mores so that they get their way. They are acknowledged and it is explained to them that this is a different place, with different surgeons, and that what they have been talking about has been tried and failed miserably. The alternative is the If You Liked it So Much Better There, Why Are You Here conversation. For a fairy tale trope this is the one who can’t let their past go and so are doomed to repeat the in my last place we did it so much better script. See also high school jocks still reliving the big game where they caught the game winning touchdown well into their 30s.

5) The lecturer who knows everything about everything and they want to tell you. Or they think they do, and they want to tell you, or correct you. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes this is how information is distributed to the rest of the team. If there is someone in the department who is knowledgeable, acknowledge and take their knowledge for yourself. But this can be taken to extremes. For a fairy tale trope this is the overly helpful blowhard that may not be more of a hindrance than a help.

6) The Hoarder. This is the coworker who knows very well where the instrument that the doctor requires is but keep that knowledge for themselves. Sometimes this is done so they can swoop in and find it so that they can be praised. Sometimes they don’t tell you or “find” the thing because they are mad at you or the surgeon. Sometimes it is because no one asked if they knew where the thing was. For a fairy tale trope this is the one who has valuable information to give for the quest, but no one thinks to ask them.

These generalizations are mean, a bit. And you will definitely recognize all of them. And if you don’t? Maybe you are that number.

There are definitely more, or combinations of the types. That will be another post, or maybe discover them for yourself. Definitely report back.

Or if you think you are all 6, relax. You are not all 6, and if you identify with a personality type that is okay. The OR is hard to learn and function in and everyone struggles sometimes. Just don’t let the personality type be your WHOLE personality.

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