Thursday, June 14, 2018

Time Out - I Contaminated my Gown

President Trump now seems to be buddies with his old North Korean nemesis and  most likely has surrendered his "dotard" title. So.... I've been thinking about changing my handle from OldfoolRN to OlddotardRN because there  is just so much about modern operating rooms that fall beyond my level of comprehension.

What happened to the sacred tiled temples that were once ORs?  Modern ORs have sacrificed  their penthouse location to practically anywhere in the hospital and worse yet resemble a waiting room at the Greyhound station. Valued work areas have been converted to electronic warehouses with enough computerized  doo dads to land a 747 in a whiteout.

The above illustration is the latest  iteration in a long line of befuddling situations. When I initially laid eyes on this young, scrubbed  whippersnappern I had that weird feeling that totally smacked my gob, (see, I can talk like a youngster if I try real hard.) She just contaminated her right hand by elevating it well out of the accepted zone of sterility. Everyone knows that the sterile part of a gown is restricted to below the armpits and above the waist tie-NO EXCEPTIONS.  If Alice, my favorite OR supervisor were on the scene she would be swinging her sponge stick like a baseball bat at this poor nurse's knuckles. Breaks in sterile technique earned the most severe knuckle bashing and I can almost see  Alice winding up like Mickey Mantle at the plate.

I educated myself about the situation and learned this nurse is calling for a "time out," which probably means she recognized the error in her ways and wants a sleeve and a new glove from the circulator. Asking for a sleeve to cover the contaminated section of a gown was a humbling experience because it required the assistance from a sterile member of the surgical team.  A surgeon helping a scrub nurse provided ample fodder for endless jokes. Dr. Slambow, my general surgeon hero usually made the nurse step away from her Mayo stand and assist with the surgery while he assumed scrub nurse duties to demonstrate the correct way of doing things.

There are a couple of other issues with the way this nurse is conducting her duties, but I think I'll let my esteemed readers point them out.


  1. I believe they no longer teach sterile technique in Nursing school. I watched a young female with RN after her name on her badge wash her hands, ONLY the palms, never touched between the fingers or the back of her hands or the nails. I won't upset myself telling you what I have seen them do with the gloves on. I do not wonder why we have so many infections I know. But geezer that I am no one wants to know from me. Someone will spend big bucks on a research study and find out the damn gloves with no education causes more problems than they solve.

  2. I am probably an older fool than you OFRN. If we caused a problem and then called attention to ourselves with goofy hand gestures a hearing before The Judiciary committee would have been convened. Punishments could have involved enemas from upper class members. We were quick learners.

  3. Both hands are now contaminated are they not? S.

  4. Sorry for the delay in my response to comments. Blogger no longer sends them to my email. I do really appreciate anyone taking the time to comment on my foolishness.

    Plum, gloves were only for sterile procedures and anyone caught using them for patient care would have been disciplined with a humiliating and embarrassing punishment as alluded to by the second comment. I am thinking about doing a post about the various disciplinary measures dispensed by the likes of Alice and nursing instructor Miss Bruiser.

    You are correct Sue, both of her hands are contaminated-a complete re-gloving and gowning is required. I was so shocked by the elevation of her right hand that I missed her left hand straying out of the sterile field.

    The stack of 4X4s on her Mayo stand got my attention. Mayo stands are like home plate in baseball. It's where all the action that really counts takes place. The only things you want there are what you are immediately using. Imagine the batter tossing his fungo bat or the catcher leaving his protective gear on home plate. A pile of 4X4s belongs on your back table. The other issue I noticed were the ill fitting gloves worn by the scrub nurse with wrinkled portions just waiting to get snagged by an instrument.

    Whew, maybe I should be called old fuss budget, but there really is no excuse for breaks in sterile technique.

  5. The left hand is touching the right as well so it has touched the already contaminated hand as well as being out of the sterile field. Gosh and I haven't been inside an OR for twenty years... but I didn't think about the wrinkled gloves OFRN!

    And yes do please give us a post about Alice & Miss Bruiser sometime!

    By now you know me and videos, but I thought you might enjoy how they portray the scrub nurse in this one! Cheers, Sue.

    If that doesn't work it's called :""The Sterile Field in the Operating Room (Don't touch that Son...)" on YouTube. (I''m not very good at working out the links to these things)

    1. Sorry, right hand touching the left - looking at the photo front on - duh. You know what I mean anyway!

  6. Thanks so much for the video tips, Sue. I am having more fun watching them than my foolish blogging endeavors.

    1. Feel free to delete them any time OFRN - a combination of a quirky sense of humour and insomnia result in me hunting out these things on the internet at odd hours!

      Your blogging is far from foolish so please keep it up! Cheers, Sue.

  7. I am not sure whether I should be bothering you again OFRN - do feel free to delete - but New Zealand has done it again! Dental nursing - a bit off topic but what a hoot - wait for them singing the Hokey Pokey - and those uniforms! Gracious.

    We never had school dental clinics here but evidently New Zealand did - but I do remember as a girl when dental nurses wore white uniforms and caps.

    Only when you have nothing better to do - but oh dear! And I hate going to the dentist... Apologies for messing up your blog with links but I found this historically fascinating. Sue.

    It's called A Friendly Career/Short Film/NZ On Screen on YouTube

  8. Thanks, Sue, I always enjoy the videos. Gmail stopped posting blog comments so sometimes I am not very timely with a response.

    When we were in nursing school an official with the nursing board went over the nurse practice act and there was a provision in the act for RNs to assist dentists. I never knew a dental RN.