Retractors and Suckers, Student Life in the OR

Most PA students go through some surgical rotation during their schooling... and let's be honest, with the rare exception of an end-of-the-rotation treat, many students do little more than retract and suck. Although frustrating at times, this isn't a bad thing. We all need to crawl before we walk. The surgeons that you will be working with have several years of experience - you can't expect to participate in a major surgery with 3 days of surgical experience

I suggest that you take each opportunity to watch the surgeons closely (don't just stare off or focus solely on the anatomy). How do they hold the scalpel? Do they apply tension to the skin? Which way to they cut? Which tool do they use and when? You will pick up more than you think and when given your opportunity to participate- you will at least have a clue what to do.

Frazier suckers (different sizes)
Below are some instruments that you may see during your rotations. The pics are from an OR Instrument book. I don't see a real need to purchase the whole book because its coverage of surgical instruments is too wide spread.... it is better for an OR Tech who may be working with cardiology, orthopedic, neurosurgical, etc kits. It is, however, worth checking it out of the library to browse through before or during your surgery rotation.

Adson tissue forceps

Ferris Smith tissue forceps

DeBakey vascular forceps

Left --> Right: Goelet retractors, Army Navy retractors, Richardson retractors (med, large)

Source:  Instrumentation for the Operating Room: A Photographic Manual, 7e Shirley M. Tighe RN BA

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