What Medical Students Need to Know Before Entering an Operating Theater

If you’re a medical student, then you should learn how to act and behave in an operating theater. It doesn’t matter if this is your first time being in the room or not. Knowing the common OR rules and keeping in mind the OR etiquette will help you keep yourself out of trouble and make a good first impression. Here are some of the things to keep in mind while you’re inside the operating room.

Mind your attire

No one is allowed to enter the OR without wearing the proper OR attire. So make sure that you familiarize yourself with the scrub suit color and size, as well as the hat you are expected to wear. As for your footwear, runner theater shoes are also available in the changing room. If you’re not sure what to wear, you’ll find a guide inside the changing room, or, better yet, don’t hesitate to ask. It’s best not to wear any jewelry, especially from the elbows down. If you have earrings, make sure to tuck them inside your hat.

Treat everyone with respect

Everyone inside the OR should be treated with respect. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to the patient, the surgeon, or the anesthesiologist. Make sure to greet everyone and introduce yourself and your business inside the OR. Keep your nameplate visible and be ready to take in some requests. Refrain from using your phone and taking pictures inside the OR.

Know the basic procedures and surgical instruments

Before entering the OR, make sure that you know how to do proper scrubbing, gowning, and gloving. It is always best if someone asks you to scrub. If not, gather your courage if you can go ahead and scrub so that you can assist in the operation. If they say no, you can always watch the operation instead. Also, make sure that you have already familiarized yourself with the surgical instruments and their uses. These include the scalpel, clamps, sealing devices, suture needles, tungsten carbide needle holder, and the like.

Keep the OR sterile

There’s a reason sterility is treated like royalty in the field. Even the simplest act can ruin the sterile field, so mind how you act and behave in this area. If you haven’t scrubbed and are not in the proper attire, don’t entire the sterile field. Mind what you’re touching and avoid any sudden movement. You don’t want anyone in the OR to ask you to step out just because you “have forgotten” to keep the sanctity of the sterile area.

Be prepared before going in the OR

Two surgeons looking at medical records

Aside from the must-knows listed above, you should also learn how to take care of yourself before entering the OR. Empty your bowel and eat your breakfast beforehand. Some surgeries can go on for hours. If you forget to pee beforehand, you can’t excuse yourself just for a pee break. Fainting due to your blood sugar dropping can also be a problem, so don’t skip your meal. Also, keep your phone on silent mode to avoid causing a distraction.

For medical professionals, the operating theatre is a sacred field. So make sure to treat it with care. By keeping this list in mind, you’ll know what to expect and how to behave while in the OR. If you’re not sure, it is always best to ask. Don’t let yourself get in trouble for mindless acts and improper behavior. Ask questions when appropriate and know your way around the OR.

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