Speed In The Operating Room

Being a fast surgeon can have different meanings. Some would consider speed to be impressive. Others might be concerned by haste. I would consider such able surgeons as efficient.

Although surgeons and patients prefer less time under anesthesia, I always tell my patients that we will take the time to do things just right. When they try to press me for an estimated duration, I make a deal with them: I will not look at the clock during the surgery if they don’t. However, there are several advantages to efficiency that go beyond less time under anesthesia. For example, building efficiency requires attention to detail and heightened communication with the rest of the operating team.

Here are some tips to improve your efficiency in the O.R.:

  • Plan ahead – Review the steps of the procedure and all of the supplies that are needed.
  • Build routines – These good habits become automatic and allow the team to anticipate your next need.
  • Make checklists – Never miss a step or wait for a required item.
  • Verbalize your thoughts – Always communicate with the team.
  • Eliminate duplication – For example, when asking the assistant to remove an item, have them introduce the subsequent item at the same time.
  • Challenge your team – Encourage everyone in the room to be proactive. Efficiency can be contagious.

Remember, when it comes to being a fast surgeon, it’s more about efficiency than speed.