We’ve all seen it and movies, TV shows, and sometimes in real life. In operating theaters, a surgeon often works with an entire medical team. Sometimes we see the lead surgeon say “scalpel”, while the doctor next to them hands them over the scalpel as if on cue. But what we fail to realize is that many of these doctors and surgeons all have their roles, ranking, and seniority, and even their own titles and positions. In fact, some of them aren’t even surgeons at all. Here are just some of the kinds of people that surgeons work with in their teams.
Obviously, it is unwise for a surgeon to work alone, by themselves. As the old adage goes, two heads are better than one, so naturally, a surgical team would consist of multiple surgeons meant to assist one another, cover for each other’s weaknesses, and spot errors that might be committed by others. They also communicate with one another in order to delegate tasks, and ask for others’ opinions on how to proceed with the operation. Additionally, they also work together when it comes to difficult procedures that require more than one set of hands. Surgery is not only a difficult and complex job, but a tiring one as well. So it makes sense for there to be as many surgeons as possible to take as much load off on others.
Anesthesiologists are doctors who specialize in the administering of anesthetic for the duration of the operation. Anesthetics are drugs that are meant to numb the pain as much as possible, or in the cases of extreme surgeries, puts the patient to sleep. There are many different kinds of anesthetics for different applications such as neurosurgical anesthesia, and cardiac anesthesia. Anesthesia is a modern medicine miracle, due to making the complications on the patient far lesser. In the olden days, operations were done on unfortunate patients without it, and while conscious. The idea of the pain these people might have undergone is nearly unthinkable.
Anesthesiology is more than just administering anesthetics to patients. It’s about knowing the correct dosages fitting for the age group, and body weight, blood composition, and other factors in knowing how to put just the right amount. Put in too much, and the patient goes into a dangerous coma. Put in too little, and the nightmare scenario of the patient waking up mid-procedure happens. Truly, it is one of the most important roles in the surgery team that needs to be present in the operating theater around the clock.
Certified registered nurse anesthetists
Certified registered nurse anesthetists, or CRNAs for short are basically the assistants of the lead anesthesiologists. As anesthesiology is a very sensitive science, nurses who specialize in anesthetic administration are also present in order to assist the lead anesthesiologist in order to ensure his measurements are accurate, and correct, and to even correct any mistakes that the lead anesthesiologist makes. They are also present in all three phases of the surgical procedure, which is before, during, and after the surgery. They are often the ones who administer anesthesia to the conscious patients both before and after the surgery, while they assist the lead anesthesiologist during surgery. CRNAs have also undergone special degree programs and certification exams to become CRNAs.
Operating room nurses/circulating nurses
Other registered nurses have specialties in actual surgery as well. As nurses, their duties are to assist and support in whatever task the surgeons are undertaking. These types of nurses also need to pass an exam in order to be qualified for surgery. While their knowledge on actual prognoses and diagnoses on different medical conditions is limited, their true strength lies in their comparable knowledge on surgical procedures. They are often delegated to help in certain procedures and techniques while the actual surgeons prepare for more complex maneuvers.
These are the ones who run the nitty gritty of the operation. They set up the sterile operating room, and they prepare all the necessary supplies and surgery tools ready and sterilize. They are also the people who hand the necessary tools that surgeons ask for in movie scenes. Surgical techs are a vital aspect of the operating team, as they are responsible for the prep work done before the surgery, and that all the tools are handed to the surgeons and nurses in a prompt, and efficient manner. Thanks to their efforts, the process of surgery has grown to be an efficient practice, and their efforts help further ensure that nothing goes wrong. These surgical technicians also receive special training, and an exam for their expertise, which goes to show how vital every aspect of the operating team is.
Residents and other medical students
Almost all hospitals host residents among their staff, as these are doctors in training. And in the cases of surgical residents, it’s only natural that they are inevitably taken to the action inside the actual operating rooms. It’s here where residents get their valuable first-hand knowledge and experience from actual exposure to real-world scenarios. It is here where they are mentored by their superiors, and are even asked to perform minor tasks in order to get their feet wet when it comes to performing actual surgery. With this, residents get the necessary training they need in order to become full-fledged surgeons.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
There is no “I” in team, and the saying holds true especially in surgery teams. To do an operation is one of the most crucial medical jobs of all time, and all individuals involved must put their heads together in order to achieve the best possible income for their patient. There is no room for ego in the operating room and table, and it’s best left at the door. As individuals, they are already accomplished and knowledgeable in their own right, but as a team, they can accomplish so much more. Everyone has their role to play, and task to perform. It’s because of this amazing teamwork that surgeons work so well with these other doctors and nurses.