Back to the Floor - Sharoe Green Theatres
I go back to the floor to find out what it’s like for our patients to be treated here, what it’s like for our staff to work here and to see if there is anything I can do to make it better place for both patients and staff. Our hospitals are enormous places and not all of our staff know what happens in different departments so part of my blog is also aimed at making it a bit easier to understand for our staff, our governors, our volunteers and anyone else who reads it! I hope my blog gives you a tiny flavour of the fabulousness that I see!
Back to the Floor - Sharoe Green Theatres
I was lucky enough to be invited to Sharoe Green theatres for my ‘Back to the Floor’ session on Friday 21 December 2018. For those of you that don’t know much about this part of the hospital the theatre team are as follows: 1 clinical manager, 2 anaesthetic team leaders, 1 coordinator and 2 scrub leaders, 16 scrub practitioners, 15 anaesthetic practitioners, 15 theatre support workers and 1 receptionist. It’s a big family that gets bigger when the surgeons and anaesthetists arrive! This particular theatre complex is made up of 3 theatres: theatre 1 is our 24 hour obstetric emergency theatre, theatre 2 does elective caesarean sections and benign gynaecology work and theatre 3 does gynaecology. I was allocated theatre 2…….
Helen Smith, the matron, met me and took me to the theatre suite where I listened into the 8am huddle. I think that nearly the whole team from the three theatres were present while they discussed the plans for the morning session and noted any issues that could affect the smooth running of theatres. After that had ended I was shown where to get into my theatre scrubs, got changed and duly presented at theatre 2. This was my first encounter with ‘Scary Sharon’ (who isn’t scary at all really!) I called her ‘scary’ because her first words to me were ‘Have you eaten breakfast? Have you had a drink? Have you had a wee? NO? Well go and do all three before you come into my theatre. And by the way, you’re scrubbing for the first case’
Having obeyed all instructions I returned to the anaesthetic room where the whole team had assembled to start the WHO checklist, we all introduced ourselves and then discussed the patient, the procedure, what we were expecting to happen and whether we were anticipating any problems/complications. Then I followed Sharon to begin the scrub process. The washing hands and arms bit was straight-forward, getting the towel out of the pack was ok, putting on the gown was a tad more tricky but putting on the gloves required the dexterity of a contortionist and the patience of someone with more than I have! Got there in the end and went into theatre to prepare for an elective caesarean having asked the prospective mum and dad first if I could be part of their theatre team. They were so lovely and chatty and excited; happily for me they were pleased for me to stay.
You’ll be relieved to know that I didn’t actually scrub for the case as Sharon did all the important things but by being scrubbed it allowed me to get close up to the action to see what was going on. I confess I was a bit worried because we had some students who had fainted the previous week so I just wanted to make sure there was a chair close by ‘just in case’. I needn’t have worried – Sharon had already ‘put eyes on me’ and for the first 15 minutes 2 of the team had their beadies firmly fixed on my every movement! Although it was really hot under the lights and I was trussed up like an onion the fact that wearing a mask was optional and I opted not to helped a lot. It was absolutely fascinating to watch the surgery (took me back 21 years to when I had my youngest son via emergency caesarean but that’s an entirely different story!)
We had a midwife in theatre who took the baby as soon as it was delivered and gave baby to mum and dad for a cuddle while the business of putting mum back together got underway.
The theatre team work really closely with the delivery suite in coordinating when our ladies need an emergency section. They have worked together with the midwives in promoting skin to skin during the first hour starting straight away in theatre if it’s safe. The tranquil and relaxed atmosphere in the theatre, before, during and after delivery, was exceptional. The anaesthetist and team talked to the parents throughout the procedure and every so often peeped round the drapes to give the parents the latest update. After mum, dad and baby had been taken back to the ward I was asked if I would judge the theatre doors. After all it was Christmas and a great deal of effort had been made. You can see from the pictures that this was a proper competition! No half-baked tinsel for this crew! Well of all the things I did that day judging was by far the most stressful – how on earth could I say one was better than the other two? But after a rather stern ‘pull your-self together woman’ glare from Helen the Matron I took my courage in both hands and declared Theatre 3 the winner. Have a look at some of the pictures and see if you would have made a different choice – if you dare!
The theatre team also participated in our ‘24 Hours in Theatre’ video and Munisa Ali one of our anaesthetic nurses was picked out by the filming crew to be one of the faces of the campaign and she has also been filmed undertaking her role in theatre. If anyone is interested go and have a look on our intranet site to have a look at the video.
I had a great morning with the team, they made me feel very welcome and I felt as though I had joined a big family. I enjoyed every minute of being with all these fabulous people and I had great fun – which is not quite what I was expecting! I leave you with a direct quote from Helen Smith ‘they are a dedicated unit of fantastic people who go above and beyond. I am proud to be their matron’ I couldn’t have said it better myself!