As I write this in December 2021 it has been a busy week at the hospital where I work. I have picked up some extra time to help with the growing list of patients who need urgent and emergency surgery. Our two-page long booking list is considered too long in my facility as we have specific targets to meet to ensure that patients receive their needed surgery in a timely manner. This is a benchmark that operating rooms strive to meet across Canada.
Yesterday's case was a polytrauma, eleven hours long, and there are images in my head now that I cannot get rid of. It's been a sleepless night and I am thankful for a day off. Yet, at the same time, I am incredib )ly proud to have been a part of the team that worked so diligently yesterday to offer this patient a better quality of life by preserving what was left of her limb.
The theme for this year's Perioperative Nurses Week is "Caring for others starts with caring for ourselves: The value of being valued." Congratulations to Lisa Bolton from Saskatchewan for submitting the winning theme!
Caring for ourselves as perioperative nurses is much on my mind. Our cases have been tough. I have watched our team provide care to a COVID-19 positive patient who was a victim of domestic violence, care for a COVID-19 positive patient who is on long-term ECMO, and manage the steady, and never-ending, stream of patients requiring laparoscopic cholecystectomies, fixes for various fractures, and exploratory laparotomies. We have troubleshot equipment and instrument issues after hours when little support is available. Much of my frustration from yesterday came from not having adequate supplies as much of what we needed was on backorder. Improvisation was at the forefront of our case which takes extra effort and some amazing communication skills. If you search "self-care" online you find images of people appreciating a steaming cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a bubble bath, or a day at the spa. But that is not the type of self-care that I am thinking of for perioperative nurses. Exposure to repetitive and traumatic cases is wearing us down over time. We are tired. Caring...