The nursing program I’m in includes two days of OR rotation. It’s not a ton of time, but I had my first day today. Lots of standing and trying not to lean on anything or get in the way or trip or knock anything over….

With all that time to be quiet, I was able to compile a list for the other students to put them on the fast track in the OR rotation.

1. Keep hydrated. Drink lots. Probably some of it shouldn’t be alcoholic in nature.

2. Wear a diaper. This will keep you from having to leave the OR from all the liquid you drank. Alternately, you could wear a Foley catheter, but that brings up questions about where to hang the bag, and people might ask why your purse is sloshing.

3. The area is a literal maze, so you should plan to use string or something that you tie-off from the lounge area and unroll as you walk, so you can find your way back. Probably this will cause some consternation from the other people, but point out that you’re a student, and it’s really for everyone’s safety.

4. Bring a pad of paper and something to write with. There may be questions that you think of, or perhaps you need to leave a note for your family if someone cuts the string and you end up huddled in a corner unable to find food or the way out.

5. Try to wear stilts under your scrubs, and don’t forget to walk nonchalantly. Nod and smile if people look at you funny. This will greatly enhance your ability to see over everyone in the OR.

6. Practice the phrase “I’m not sterile” to help in avoiding any type of work whatsoever. If you’re asked to move a light, pass an instrument, whatever. You can even use it before your OR time. It works for getting out of doing the dishes, as well as changing a flat tire.

7. There will be lots of medical jargon thrown around. Don’t let it get to you. If something is said and you’re unclear, never admit it. Start speaking another language, if at all possible. Make one up on the spot if you need to. You can even resort to a distractor like “Does anyone else smell smoke?”

8. To fit in with the rest of the people working there, you should take every opportunity to judge or make disparaging comments about the patients. Make a point to mention weight or bodily defects (real or imagined).

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