In the OR, it is easy to think that management is doing nothing. The staff members are each assigned to an operating room, which they are basically confined for a long period of time. They don’t really leave the Surgery Department because it is a locked unit, unless of course, they are on their lunch break.
If the managers doesn’t make rounds, checking in on the nurses and techs, then it is basically “out of sight, out of mind.” Their guess is that we are sitting around having coffee somewhere laughing at how hard the staff has to work. Having been a staff nurse not that long ago, I remember thinking that leadership had no idea what was going on in the rooms. Back then, it was true because our managers hardly made rounds, never gave a lunch relief (scrubbing or circulating), and were tough to find when surgeons were angry.
Our staff can’t say that about us. Even our OR manager knows how to scrub a total joint. How’s that for rolling up your selves and pitching in? I wish I could have a camera mounted on my head (just like we have headlights for surgeons), so that the staff can see what we go through.
Ultimately, I know that no matter what I tell them, they won’t care about what management endures. The load they carry is big because they are there in the rooms giving direct patient care. I get that. This desire is selfish on my part. It would be nice for people to appreciate the things that we go through just to get them the tools they need to do their jobs, keep their overtime, have a nice newly constructed lounge with brand spanking new furniture, or whatever the case may be.
If I was a bit more selfish, I probably wouldn’t worry about this at all. I would go and have that cup of coffee. Unfortunately, that’s not how I’m built. As the demands increase from levels above and below me, I tell myself that I have an expiration date. Just like our medications…
My manager told me this morning, “As leaders, we have to give up a lot.” Blah, blah, blah. Sure we do. But where do we draw the line?
A couple of weeks ago, I had a terrible headache so I ran to the holding area to ask a friend Tracy to take my blood pressure if she wasn’t busy. She took one look at me and her smile turned into a worried frown. Tracy grabbed my hand to lead me to the sphygmomanometer. Pointing at the number on the screen, 139/91, she exclaimed, “This is why you have a headache!”
My blood pressure has NEVER been that high before.
It was then that I realized that I have to stop putting myself last. I have to stop taking to heart every little thing that happens during my work day. At some point, I need to stop sacrificing myself. I HAVE TO PUT ME FIRST BEFORE IT KILLS ME.