Ask the (deployed) OR nurse

As much of the workings of an OR were rather a mystery to me before I entered the field, notwithstanding being an RN, and because many people seem to have misconceptions about the details of how a surgery is prepared for, accomplished, and recovered from, I thought I’d start this thread to see if anyone wanted to ask any questions. So, here’s your chance to know what goes on after the lights go out!

I’m also currently deployed to Afghanistan, so if anyone has any questions particular to deployed military-type ORs, feel free to ask them, too.

First off: Thank you for your service. Stay safe, too.

Some questions: How well supplied is your facility with consumables? Is there much concern about running out supplies, or are you confident that you’ll have what you need when you need it?

Do you set up the OR before the patient comes in, or is that someone else’s duty?

How involved are you with the surgical planning? Do you just get told we’re doing X on patient Y today?

How much do you interact with the caretaker teams doing the regular care for patients between surgeries?

Are you doing mostly emergency operations, or planned ones?

Are you married/in a long-term relationship? If so, how are you and your partner working to keep the relationship healthy while you’re deployed?
I think that’s enough to start with.

Wow, that’s pretty comprehensive for a first reply! :slight_smile:

You are welcome. It is very much my pleasure and privlege. And I’m quite safe. I’m on Bagram Air Base, where the biggest threat is tripping over something.

We’re the top tier hospital in theatre, and so are very well stocked. We do occasionally run out of something (it was size small non-strerile gloves a few days ago), but it doesn’t take long to re-supply, and I’ve never been concerned that we wouldn’t be able to handle just about anything that came through the door.

Several people are involved, actually. Housekeeping does things like cleaning from the last case, and putting linens on the beds. The techs make sure the room is stocked with supplies, and that the proper instrument sets are in the room. Anesthesia ensures their machine is working, and that they have all the drugs and supplies they require. I make sure the bed is properly positioned, that the electric scalpel/cautery machine is present and working, and that the suction is similarly present and working. I also check to make sure any positioning aids we may need for that specific case are present, and that the nessecary supplies for the surgical prep are set up.

Basically, though it’s usually a day to a few days in advance. If there is a conflict, say an equipment set that is needed for two different procedures scheduled to coincide, I let the docs know, so they can sort who needs to go first. If it’s an unusual case or some special supplies are needed, the docs will check with me to make sure anything special we need is on hand or can be obtained.

Almost not at all, unless there’s a compelling reason to. I did let the floor nurse know about a trach that had obviously not been cleaned in quite some time a while ago, but that’s a rare exception.

Mostly planned, actually. We do get more emergencies here than at home, but not a huge number more. Most of our patients come from FOBs (forward operating bases), where they’ve been already given emergency care, so we usually don’t need to bring them right back to the OR.

I am married, 21 years and counting. My beloved husband is, himself, a retired USAF Master Sergeant, with a deployment or two under his belt, as well, and so is very very supportive. We talk almost every day, either on the phone or on the computer, and just generally try to keep things in perspective. We’ve lived this life all our married lives, and don’t enjoy separations, but also understand that it’s just part of a military life.

Well, if there’s more, feel free!