Prior to my surgery rotation, I had never scrubbed in before. It can be a nerve-racking experience because you don’t want to be called out by anyone for ruining the sterile field. Don’t worry, you learn over time, and learn from your mistakes. I’ve tried to put together a relatively concise/comprehensive guide for those of you who are in the same boat as me!
- Figure out which OR you are supposed to be in. Always try to show up before the attending or the resident if you can so you scope out the location and introduce yourself to the patient.
- Once you are in the OR, always make sure you’re wearing a cap, a face mask, shoe covers, and gloves.
- Determine if the scrub nurse has a gown/gloves for you. If not, go locate a gown and two pairs of sterile gloves (one size should be a 1/2 size shorter). If the gown is wrapped up, grip the bottom of the box, and separate each fold and grab each fold with the hand that’s gripping the box. Present the gown to the nurse so he/she can get it without touching the contaminated parts. For opening the gloves, open the pack so you minimize the area that you’ve touched. Generally, you open it outwards and present the glove pack to the nurse so they can grab it.
- As a med student, you should scrub for longer than the doctor/resident. I like to scrub both my hands first and then my arms. I make sure to get every surface at least five times. Remember, your fingers have 4 surfaces (front, back, left side, right side). To rinse off, always elevate your hands so your hands are at higher level than your forearm. Rinse in that position.
- As you enter the OR again, make sure your arms are in front of you in that elevated position. Dry off with the towel provided–use one side of the towel for one arm. Once done, flip it over to the other hand and dry the other arm.
- The scrub nurse will hold your gown out for you. Keep your arms out, but close to your body and literally walk into the gown. Keep your hands w/in the sleeve. Use your LEFT hand that’s in the sleeve to expose your right hand. The scrub nurse will then give you your right glove. Once gloved, you can use the right hand to free your left hand. Eventually, you will be double-gloved!
- Finally, you grab the shorter tie of the gown and hand the other to the scrub nurse, and rotate. Tie the gown!
Those are the essentials! It might be slightly different where you are at, just pay attention and you will be fine!