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Ode to the OR Nurse

Updated on October 26, 2017
k@ri profile image

I was a registered nurse for 25+ years. Working mainly in the operating room, I've been everything from staff nurse to Director of Nursing.

Working in an Operating Room

When I worked in an operating room, I lived, breathed and thought OR all day. From the moment I would get out of bed till the moment I laid my head back down it was operating room. So many things can go wrong and so many things have to go just right.

Many people said I took my job too seriously. I thought, “How can you not take it seriously!” Anesthesia brings the patient to the edge of death and holds them there. Time is everything. We do not like letting people hang around on that edge too long. Anything can happen, usually when you least expect it.

You really need to be there 110% in the operating room. Terrible things can happen if you let your guard down. We never say things like, “This is going well.” Operating room personnel are a very superstitious lot. We believe in Murphy’s Law, “Anything bad that can happen, will happen.”

After a good day there is a tremendous feelings of accomplishment. Good days do happen, and happen more often than my superstition will allow me to admit. If you work in the operating room, you understand.

Be There 110%

Every one in the operating room is intent on the patient and surgery.
Every one in the operating room is intent on the patient and surgery. | Source

Ode to an OR Nurse

I get up in the morning,

And I jump out of bed.

I’ve got the day’s cases

Running through my head.

Two Total Hips,

Then a total knee.

Hope I get a break

Somewhere in the three.

Then probably to lunch

While someone starts the ORIF.

Some food and a smoke,

Back to nurse I morph.

Add-ons in the afternoon.

Doc’s really pushing.

Has some cases somewhere else,

And everybody’s rushing.

Thanks me for my help today.

Not knowing he’s a jerk.

Thinks he’s captain of the ship,

Just like James T. Kirk.

Take a break, stock some rooms,

Write tomorrow’s board.

Big sigh out while changing.

Home is my reward.


Once I would get home, I would be physically and mentally exhausted. I needed to keep to a rigorous schedule. Bedtime was at 9pm. Every night, except weekend when I was not on call. If I was not on call I could stay up late, 11 or 12. Maybe on Saturday if I had slept in I could stay up until 2 am.

But I never regretted working in the operating room. It was the only job I ever stayed at for more than 3 years. Every other job would get boring. The operating room never does.

Exhausted, Mentally and Physically

Me after a day in surgery.
Me after a day in surgery. | Source

Cute Video Surgeons Playing the Operation Game

© 2017 Kari Poulsen


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    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 17 hours ago from Ohio

      Thank you so much Verlie! I used to know a child who called me Nurse Kari. Your use of it has brought back fond memories. :)

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 29 hours ago from Canada

      Nurse Kari, I enjoyed this lighthearted playful poem about a serious and challenging situation. I admire anyone who can do this kind of work. Kudos to you!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 10 days ago from Ohio

      Hi Jackie, Thanks for reading and commenting. Before I became a nurse, I thought I would hate it. After I began nursing school, I found out I loved it. More than proud, I feel blessed that I could be there to help others.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 10 days ago from Ohio

      Thank you so much, Tim. It is high pressured and fast paced, but so very rewarding.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 10 days ago from The Beautiful South

      Nurses are some very special people. My sister was a nurse. I considered it once in my life but it takes a braver person than me. I am sure you are proud of all you have done for pain and saving lives and you should be.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 10 days ago from U.S.A.

      Loved the poem. I've worked with nurses on occasion, and you guys are special people. It's a high pressure, fast-paced, and rewarding career, according to the nurses I have worked with on cases. God bless you and all you do for the patient, including how you enhance the quality of life and medical care for everyone.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 2 weeks ago from Ohio

      Thank you so much, Nell! It is certainly a mind set.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 weeks ago from England

      Oh Wow! I always refer to people who do your work as heroes. You do the job others are incapable of doing, not because they can't but because its a mind set that makes you all special.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Thanks Jo. Hospitals are not fun places for the patients, but sometimes working at one is fun. :)

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 3 weeks ago from Tennessee

      Glad we have people like you there caring for us when we are sick. Hospitals are not fun places to be and we need folks like you to help us make it through.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Thanks Linda. It is all about the patient. That is the only reason to be a nurse. Most nurses would tell you the same, I think. :)

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Hi Dora. I'm glad you liked the poem. I never thought I took the job too seriously, although I was often accused of it, lol. :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You performed a very important job, Kari. I admire nurses and their dedication very much. Their attention is vital to a patient's wellbeing.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Kari, thanks to you and all the others like you who take your job seriously. The poem is precious.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 3 weeks ago from Ohio

      Mary, That really is one of the best things about nursing. Everyday we get to make a difference in someone's life. I feel the rewards of nursing greatly outweigh any unpleasantness. Your thank you is greatly appreciated! I also appreciate you taking time to read and comment. :)

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 3 weeks ago from Ohio

      FlourishAnyway, Thanks for stopping by and reading my silly little poem. Being a psychologist must be an amazing career! I almost went into psych nursing, but then I found the OR. :)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 3 weeks ago from Brazil

      Our family has had many nurses and they all have loved their work. I can't think of many other careers where you can go home and say, "Today I made a difference."

      I would be hard-pressed to think of someone who hasn't been cared for by a nurse.

      From all of us who have been treated with professionalism and kindness from your fellow nursing staff, I'd like to say, thank you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

      I love hearing about people who love(d) their jobs. I used to love mine too.