Brooke and Sharaya have had the opportunity to work in the operating room (OR) for this rotation.  We start our day at 6am sharp, which means a very early morning.  Our attire consists of white shoes, white tights, white scrub dress, and hair in a tight bun.  We walk to the hospital in these dresses and change into our normal “Canadian” scrubs for the OR.

Our initial reaction to the hospital was a feeling of being brought back into time.  The hospital is not as modern as we are accustom to, but rather “war time” looking.  The hospital has open windows for air flow and ventilation.  There are no automatic doors.  The machinery is archaic and does not always work that well except for the odd looking modern machine.  As well the beds are not automatic, but crank.  However, it has been a good experience for us to work in this type of environment as we will have a greater appreciation for our “wealthy” hospital system at home.  It is also beneficial to see how other hospital system in the world run.

Our second day was better and more eventful (as the first day we had no opportunity to watch a surgery).  First thing in the morning we assisted with a Total Abdominal Hysterectomy with Bilateral Salpingo and Oophorectomy.  Brooke assisted as a scrub nurse and Sharaya assisted as a circulating nurse.  The role of the scrub nurse is to maintain sterility of the equipment and hand tools to the doctor.  The role of circulating nurse is to count the equipment, document, and gather extra supplies as needed during the surgery.  During this time we both learned the names of the tools used and familiarized ourselves with them.  The nurses gave us a test at the end of the day ensuring we knew them.  We also had a training session at the university later in the day where we had to demonstrate proper sterile gowning and gloving.  We are thankful to be able to have this experience now as we have not previously in Canada.  Even though the learning has been steep we have found it very beneficial.

We are intrigued by how resourceful Filipino people are.  Even though they may not have access to all the latest equipment they use what they have to its full potential.  We think this can be a benefit as we often rely too heavily at home on equipment to provide us with information.  A manual blood pressure can sometimes be more accurate than BP taken by a machine.  They also acquire a lot less waste than we have in Canada.  We can gain a lot from working within their health care system.

Overall, this OR experience has been amazing.  We have both had the opportunity to scrub in and circulate for different surgeries.  We feel very grateful as this is not an option in Canada and we believe something that could be very beneficial to students.  By seeing the surgery your patient goes through you can better understand why they may be in so much pain or having troubles with ambulation, etc.  It may have been difficult at times as we saw them do things in a different way we may at home but we had to remind ourselves that we are in a developing world and they are doing the best that they can!  It was a very worthwhile experience and we had a lot of fun throughout the week!