The operating room
Why is it so cold?
The operating room is cold to prevent the OR team from overheating while working under the bright lights and wearing sterile gowns. We will cover you with a blanket to keep you warm.
Who are the surgery team members?
There is a scrub person, a surgery aide, the anesthesia provider, the surgeon, the surgeon’s assistant, a nurse-circulator, and there may also be students present. Some procedures also require an equipment or device specialist, such as for nerve monitoring and orthopedic procedures.
What is the nurse doing?
The nurse in the room is the circulator, who ensures that you and the team have everything needed for the procedure. The nurse is in charge of organizing the room and your care. Sometimes the nurse makes or answers phone calls regarding your case; they also document your care in the computer chart and assist the scrub nurse in preparing the instruments and equipment. You may hear them counting, as surgical counts are performed to ensure that the procedure goes precisely as planned.
Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU AKA Recovery Room)
Once the surgery is complete, the anesthesia provider and OR nurse will accompany you to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit to recover and wake up. The PACU is a critical care unit, where your vital signs are closely monitored and pain management begins. The PACU nurses are trained to safely manage your pain and nausea and help you recover.
Here is what you can expect in the PACU:
- There will be monitors attached to you that take your vital signs every 10 minutes, unless your condition requires more attention.
- You may need oxygen to help you breathe.
- The surgical site will be examined.
Pain assessment in the PACU. Pain is to be expected after surgery. We will ask you to rate your pain as either mild, moderate or severe. We will give you medication based on your pain level to make you more comfortable.
Transition from the PACU. Depending on the type of surgery, when your recovery from anesthesia is complete and you can be safely transferred, you will be moved from the PACU to the Short Stay Unit or to an inpatient hospital room. The PACU nurse will report to the nurse who will be taking over your care. This report may be given at your bedside or at the nurses’ station and your assigned care team will begin the next stage of your care.