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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