Scrubbing In

Last week I got to “scrub in” for the first time.  I didn’t actually get to help with a surgery or anything; it was just a lab to train us in the proper way to scrub in for surgery, so that when I actually get to my surgery rotation, I might be able to get through the OR doors without looking like a complete idiot.

Scrubbing in is harder than you think.  One false move, and you have to start all over.  This time was just practice, so I didn’t have to be perfect…which is good because I definitely would have had to restart about five times.

It starts with putting on a weird paper onesie-thing, shoe covers, a hair cover, and a mask.  Then you have to take all your jewelry off.  No nail polish allowed either.  Then you head over to a sink, open a scrub kit, and get to work.  Fingernails first…each hand.  Then take the sponge and get it wet.  Scrub each finger individually…ten times back and forth on each side.  Then move to hand…ten times back and forth on both sides.  Then the arm.  Same thing…ten times back and forth on each side.  Switch arms and repeat it all from the start, beginning with the fingers.

If you bump the sink…start over.  If you don’t keep your hands up the whole time…start over.  Once you have rinsed your arms completely, you make your way over to the scrub nurse.  She puts your gown on, followed by your gloves.  If you contaminate one hand, the nurse can replace your glove.  Any more than that and you have to scrub back in from the beginning!

Plus – my surgery rotation is going to be in January, and I will still be breastfeeding then, so I am probably going to have to scrub in and scrub out to go pump.  I am just crossing my fingers that my attending isn’t a jerk, and hopefully I can find time between surgeries or something so I don’t have to do the whole scrubbing in process a million bazillion times.

There are a lot of reasons why I don’t want to be a surgeon, and scrubbing in can definitely be added to that list, but it was still kind of fun.  I felt pretty important in my get-up, when in reality, during surgery rotation I will probably just be watching or doing some pretty mundane, like holding the retractor.  I am just hoping to survive my surgery rotation without getting yelled at on a daily basis for contaminating the field!


About emilyehoward

My name is Emily, and I am a Hospitalist in Nebraska. I live with my husband and three beautiful daughters. I hope you enjoy my blog!
This entry was posted in Doctor, Health Care, Medical Student, Medicine, Osteopathy, Physician and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Scrubbing In

  1. Scrubbing always makes me nervous too, but it’s really a lot easier in the moment than you anticipate. So don’t worry 🙂 Very few surgeries end up being incredibly long too, so chances are you won’t have to scrub out to pump; you’ll probably be able to do it in between surgeries.

  2. I always feel as if it’s a massive waste of water and get antsy about the taps being left on for what feels like hours and hours. But wait… “You turned the taps off? Start over!” Presumably the reduced infection risk is worth it!

    I’m looking forward to hearing how you manage while breastfeeding. 🙂

  3. Z says:

    Aiya–reading this makes me feel slightly stressed out already? Also, random question: do you put the gloves on while your hands are still wet? :/

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