About a year ago, I wrote a basic introduction to scrubbing in. Having recently spent some more time in an OR, I figured it may be helpful to give a few more tips about what to do after you have scrubbed in.
- So you're scrubbed in. Now what? You want to approach the bed, but the room is now a mix of sterile and non-sterile areas. As you approach the bed, try your best to always face anything that is not sterile. If you have your back to something that is not sterile, you are more likely to bump into it.
- Move slowly. Never rush. Always keep your hands tucked into your body, between your nipples and navel.
- Once at the table, find a comfortable place to stand that affords you a good view. This can be hard sometimes.
- Once the patient is draped and sterile, you can relax a bit. Feel free to brace yourself against the patient's body with your hands. Just make sure that your hands are touching only the sterile drapes.
- When you are scrubbed in, you are going to be doing a lot of standing. Maintaining a good posture is key to avoiding back / leg pain later on. To do so, try to stand as straight and symmetrically as possible. Avoid favoring one leg over the other. Do not lock your knees, but rather bend them slightly in order to take stress off of your back. Also, stand with a wide stance to improve your balance.
- Find yourself nodding off? Make sure to look around / look away every few minutes. Try to bend and flex your legs periodically to keep them from hurting.
- Face itchy? Sweating? You CANNOT touch your face mask because it is not sterile. For the most part, you have to just deal with this. However, if it is a severe problem, you can always request the circulating nurse to dab your forehead or adjust your mask.
- Feeling faint? This happens occasionally. If you know it will pass momentarily, just stay calm and focus on your balance. However, if you really know you cannot hold your position, just let the attending (or first assist) know the problem, and ask to scrub out. It is better to scrub out than to fall into the field or onto the floor. Don't be a hero.