What life is like for a perioperative nurse

09/Oct/2020     Health

Perioperative Nurses Week (PNW) runs from 4 till 10 October presenting an opportunity to celebrate the essential role perioperative nurses play in our healthcare system.

Ashleigh Mellor is Team Leader of the scrubnurses in the perioperative team working predominately on urology surgeries and said she chose to work for Mater due to the supportive culture of the theatre team.

“Typically, you may find operating theatres to be very stressful places to work and perioperative nurses have a fierce reputation however our department is a very welcoming and nurturing one,” Ashleigh said.

“You will find the team will always go out of their way to support one another. We are also a teaching hospital and we work with our young graduates and students to ensure they are presented with the best educational opportunities.

“While your time in surgery may be quick we do have the opportunity to develop a rapport with our patients, there are some people who need more frequent procedures so it’s important we get to know them.”

For many patients having surgery may be the most stressful day of their lives, Ashleigh explains while they may never remember the names or the faces of their nursing team the patient will always remember how they were treated.

“We all work exceptionally hard to reach the best outcomes for the patients, I know many nurses have missed important events because they knew they had to be at work. It takes a really special type of person to do this job,” Ashleigh said.

Ashleigh says the perioperative unit is broken down into three different categories of nursing, scrub nursing, anaesthetic nursing and recovery nursing each with their own skillset.

“I have worked rurally and had to learn all three components of perioperative nursing however due to the volume of surgeries at Mater we are able to specialise which is great because we learn to become exceptional at what we do,” Ashleigh said.

“The most important part of perioperative nursing is safety. It can be frustrating for the patients to be asked the same question ten times but if we do it to ensure the patient has the best outcome from their surgery.

“Perioperative nurses are very technical in what they do.  We are early adopters of technology and adapt quickly to new ways of doing things. We have to anticipate problems and know what the doctor needs before they know they need it—it’s not just about passing instruments.

“Once you’re a perioperative nurse, you’re always a perioperative nurse,” Ashleigh laughs,

“But it’s not just at Mater, we have a great relationship with the Princess Alexandra, Greenslopes and Queensland Children’s Hospital’s too, if they’re ever need anything we’re always ready to step up and help.

“That’s just the nature of the team, we are a supportive one, we want everyone to know how important they are our cleaning team do an amazing job and some of them have been with us for 37 years now, it’s a wonderful testament to the culture of the theatres.”

For more information on Perioperative Nurses Week please visit, https://www.acorn.org.au/

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