My name is Maxine Anderson, and I work at Auckland City Hospital in the cardiac operating rooms as a Registered Nurse Surgical Assistant (RNSA). My background is in adult and paediatric cardiac theatre nursing. I’ve been employed as an RNSA for the adult cardiac service since the role was first introduced about five years ago.
What I do each day depends on which surgeons are operating and what surgery is scheduled. Some of our surgeons give their registrars lots of operating to do, while others prefer to do all the operating themselves. I spend most of my time with the surgeons who share their work and do lots of teaching. I am mostly involved with CABG surgery where I will harvest a vein or radial while the registrar is taking down the mammary. I also get called into theatres where a leg/arm needs closing after a registrar has harvested and not had time to close.
When the registrars know they are starting a case they will text me to arrange for me to help them. On the morning of surgery, if the registrar is busy doing the ward round I can start before they arrive by getting the patient prepped and draped. When I start a case with a registrar, the consultant has an extra hour or so free in the morning and the registrar gets the chance to do some operating. Everyone is happy!
After harvesting a conduit and closing the wound, I will sometimes stay for the whole case and help as second assistant, other times I’m called away to ‘close a leg’ in another operating room. Some consultants like to leave the registrar to finish the case once the main part of the surgery has been done. I can assist the registrar when the consultant leaves and we’ll come off bypass and close the chest together.
Almost all my day is spent in the operating room. I only visit the patients after surgery to check on any wounds I’m concerned about. I work Monday to Friday and I don’t do any on call. The registrars cover all the out of hours and on call work – yahoo!
One of the best parts of my job is helping the new registrars while they become familiar with our consultants – some of our surgeons can be a bit challenging to work with. Because I’m used to the surgeons and the way our system works, I can help the surgery run more smoothly, which makes life less stressful for the registrars!
I love my job, I feel very lucky to be doing something that makes me look forward to going to work every day.