General

Assisting Surgeons without taking breaks

Created by:

 
7 Jul 2016 - General
 

Recently, my colleague and I had a discussion over taking breaks during an operation. Normally, our team consists of 1 Surgeon, 1 ODP, 2 Nurses and 1 Support worker. We had ten cases of cataract surgeries for 7 hours allocated time, which we all know that each case doesn't usually take long, especially if it's not a complicated one. We are scheduled to work unitl 9pm. Normally, we would take turns in taking 15 minute breaks in the afternoon but the turnover of patient were so quick, some of us haven't taken a proper break. The cases went on and on as the surgeon doesn't want to take a break so he can go home early, aiming to go home before 7pm. Personally, I found it very tiring, although I managed to get a 15minute break in the afternoon. But scrubbing, circulating, documenting and cleaning up non stop piled all up at the end of the case which made us feel all very tired. As for the Surgeon, he feels that  "work hard now, and take a longer break at the end" is okay. What do you think?

Hi Kathleen! I've had my fair share of this because I went through a lot in my junior years of residency. I think time management is a skill that almost all surgeons have learned throughout their training. I'm sure your consultant is so skilled that these operations are a routine for him already, so he doesn't get really tired even after several back to back cases. My consultants are like that too. Most of them try to finish their cases early so they have time for other aspects of th...
 (Total 145 words)
It is definitely difficult. I had many experiences from my years as a student nurse up to my senior internship where we would be hours in the operating room without taking any breaks. There was one surgery, I just came off a 24 hours duty, which I assisted in for 11 hours. That is with no breakfast, lunch or dinner and no bathroom breaks. I agree with Dr. Parasnis where he was saying about how we need to understand the surgeon that he/she would want to finish set in front of them. They are in th...
 (Total 136 words)
As a doctor working in a paediatric surgical unit, this situation is quite familiar to me too. I'm a junior doctor so what I mostly do in the theater is assisting surgeries, and what I have noticed with my colleagues is that they are always in a great hurry to finish the theater list. They don't seem to be bothered about the straight work hours, as long as all the surgeries get done . We understand that it is quite tiring for the assisting staff but on the other hand the theater hours th...
 (Total 162 words)
Hi Shunjie, this post was not intended to gain sympathy or whatsoever and I know that others could have worse days than we do. On my end, this was just something I wanted to share based on my personal experience as I'm particularly new to the Theatre world. And speaking of human potential, I know in myself that I can do it, but stretching the cases without a break in between patients is tiring. By the sounds of it, you are very experienced and as per your suggestion, I don't think I wil...
 (Total 115 words)
Just to play devils’ advocate, I guess you would expect some sympathy with this post. But unfortunately your experience is actually not that herculean in the medical world. Ophthalmological procedures are in general not as intense as other procedures to assist with. As I have said in the previous post on the “exploitation of nurses”, human potential is something that is sometime that we can train. For the length of work that nurses have gone through. Doctors, soldiers and other occupations have ...
 (Total 143 words)
Surgeons will often be in their own world. However it is time that they acknowledge the contribution of their helpers. It is not in the nature of the surgeon to stop before the entire work in front of him is done. But while doing so he has to stop and assess whether the people making the surgery possible are in a mental and physical condition to help him complete the task. As trainees, surgeons are often used to working for long hours without taking breaks and this tendency is carried over later...
 (Total 157 words)
Although, I have not experienced such kind of situation often, but have assisted 2-3 surgeries for 2-4 hours continuously. Generally, we took a break after 1-2 surgeries. 7 hours is actually tiring. It also reduces your concentration from the job. Short breaks improve the work efficiency, reduces stress, reduces chances of headache and lower back pain. Most of the workplaces provides 15 minute break after the completion of a certain work or there is time-set for breaks. All of you together can ...
 (Total 118 words)