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Ode to the OR Nurse

Kari is a retired operating room registered nurse. Although she is retired, the interest never waned. She loves all things OR related.


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.

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.

Cute Video Surgeons Playing the Operation Game

© 2017 Kari Poulsen


Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on October 02, 2018:

There is much pressure, but OR people thrive under pressure. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Mark Tulin from Palm Springs, California on October 01, 2018:

I can’t imagine the pressure these nurses must experience. What amazing people.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on November 22, 2017:

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. :)

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on November 21, 2017:

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!

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on November 12, 2017:

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.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on November 12, 2017:

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

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 12, 2017:

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 from U.S.A. on November 12, 2017:

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.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on November 03, 2017:

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

Nell Rose from England on November 03, 2017:

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.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on October 31, 2017:

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

Jo Miller from Tennessee on October 31, 2017:

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.

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on October 27, 2017:

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. :)

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on October 27, 2017:

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. :)

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 27, 2017:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 27, 2017:

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

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on October 27, 2017:

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. :)

Kari Poulsen (author) from Ohio on October 27, 2017:

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. :)

Mary Wickison from Brazil on October 27, 2017:

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 from USA on October 26, 2017:

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

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