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Empowering OR Professionals: Taking the Time

In the modern OR, where we are focused on a fast turn-over and getting our job done, it is critical that seasoned OR professionals take time to nurture new staff across all disciplines.

As busy surgical professionals, it is critical that we take time to mentor and empower new OR staff. Surgeons, PAs, nurses, and surgical technologists can benefit from each other’s shared experiences and knowledge base.

Mentoring and educating

In addition to the standard OR orientation and education, there is no better opportunity to train new staff than by encouraging their early and active participation in the daily operation of the OR.

For the seasoned OR professional, it is critical that we take the time to listen to the new recruit and help them to learn their role to become effective team members. The age of “eating our young” is long over. Mentoring, educating, and precepting should be the buzzwords of the modern era. The tradeoff is that new OR staff must be seen as stakeholders in their orientation to the OR. They should complete all required learning modules and certifications required for their profession, and meet objectives set forth by the institution.

Opportunities for growth

I’ve found that there are great opportunities for growth in incorporating crisis checklists and implementing the electronic distraction protocol from the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety. Many new faces to the OR are delighted to participate in the Theater Cap Challenge, and happily label their caps with their name and role. This identification is especially important for new team members and students. New team members are vital in continuing to incorporate these safety measures into our daily practice. 

Empowering and mentoring new OR staff through greater involvement and shared decision-making leads to higher career satisfaction for all involved. It enhances the flow of the operating room and can improve patient safety. Encourage new staff to ask questions and make decisions 

Facilitate multidisciplinary work, from pre-op to post op, from the facilities team to the chief of surgery. It all starts with open lines of communication from all involved. Look for a new staff member to mentor today, especially from another profession. 

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