Today I had my first lab for my Introduction to Surgery Course. It was a lot more fun than a lot of labs in the past, especially the pathology and histology ones. Today, we learned how to scrub for surgery and put on our sterile gowns and gloves. It was a momentous occasion! I’ve had the opportunity to scrub in on surgeries in the past and fumbled my way through gloving and gowning, but it was really neat to actually be instructed on how to do it every step of the way and then practice it repeatedly with supervision until we nailed it.
Gowning and gloving a skill that many veterinarians use daily and I’m sure with time the excitement decreases a bit, but for a veterinary student it was a big deal. The most important part of gowning and gloving is maintaining sterility while you do it and then as you participate in surgery. You need to keep your hands up and avoid the ever-present urge to itch your face or touch something that is not sterile. That can be hard to do if you have never tried it! No one wants to be the one who breaks sterility by bumping into something or not thinking.
One of the things that was emphasized most is that what we were doing was for the patient’s safety and that had to be the first and foremost priority. That meant that even if no one saw it, if you bumped someone, accidently touched something off the drape, etc, no matter how embarrassing it is, you need to admit it and get a new glove and/or gown as necessary. Admitting you made a mistake is not always easy, but your patients depend on you and you need to do your best.