Operating Room Line-up
Patients often do not put any thought into who will actually be in the operating room (OR) during their surgery. It may be surprising to know that it takes a pretty large staff to perform even the "simplest" of surgeries:
- Primary Surgeon—The physician who performs your surgery and is responsible for your overall care.
- Second Surgeon ("Second Scrub")—A physician who "scrubs in" to assist your primary surgeon.
- Surgical Assistant—A medical practitioner with surgical training, often employed by the surgeon.
- Surgical Technician—A nurse with surgical training, often employed by the hospital to assist in the OR.
- Anesthesiologist—The physician who is responsible for your medical care while you are under anesthesia.
- Nurse Anesthetist—A nurse who assists in administering anesthesia, usually in the operating room.
- Scrub Nurse—A nurse who "scrubs in" to assist surgeons with sterile procedures at the operating table.
- Circulating Nurse—The nurse who is responsible for non-sterile tasks in the operating room.
- Holding Room Nurse—The nurse who receives patients and prepares them for surgery in the preoperative area.
- Recovery Nurse—The nurse who cares for patients in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) after surgery.
It is important to note that anyone present during a surgery is noted in the medical record and a patient does have the right to know who was present and what organization they are associated with.
Hill, A.J., MD, PhD. The Patient's Guide to Anesthesia. New York: Kensington, 1999.
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