Kevin Ly and Catherine Antoine, perioperative nurses at Michael Garron Hospital. They are standing with their arms crossed in the operating room.
Kevin Ly and Catherine Antoine, perioperative nurses at Michael Garron Hospital.

Shining a light on perioperative nursing at Michael Garron Hospital

Have you or a loved one ever had surgery at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH)? If so, it’s likely that a perioperative nurse played an important role during the procedure. 

Perioperative nurses are there for their patients from the beginning of the procedure to the end. 

They begin by walking a patient into the operating room (OR) and helping the patient feel comfortable with their surroundings.  

During the surgical experience, perioperative nurses support interdisciplinary patient care, including assisting the delivery of the patient’s anesthetic. They are also very versatile in that they take on different roles to provide services to the sterile surgical team.  

These roles include the circulating nurse or the sterile scrub nurse. As the circulating nurse, perioperative nurses work as a non-sterile member of the team and are responsible for a multitude of tasks including supporting anesthetic care, setting up the surgical space, charting and more. As the sterile scrub nurse, they pass the right instruments to the surgeon at the right time. 

In addition to what perioperative nurses do in the OR, they may also work with other departments in the hospital to ensure any medication or blood the patient needs is on-hand. They also address any outstanding concerns prior to surgery. 

Making an immediate impact on patient health 

Kevin Ly and Catherine Antoine are two Registered Nurses on the team of perioperative nurses who work in the OR at MGH. They both enjoy seeing the positive impact they have on patients each day. 

“As a nurse in the OR, you have a very direct and obvious impact on a patient’s health and can see this impact immediately after surgery. This is a very rewarding experience,” Kevin says. 

“I love being part of the OR. We come together as a surgical team to treat our patients. By the end of the surgery, knowing the patient is on the road to recovery makes me happy,” Catherine says. 

Photo competition highlights perioperative nursing 

Photo of perioperative nurse, Catherine, standing in the OR with the text "Perioperative Nurses: Standing for Patient Safety and Excellence in Surgical Practice" and "Perioperative Nurses Week: November 12-18, 2023."

When Kevin came across a photo competition organized by the Operating Room Nurses Association of Canada (ORNAC), he knew he wanted to enter. 
Kevin enjoys photography as a hobby and has taken photos of loved ones and colleagues in various settings. 
“I’ve seen photos over the years of perioperative nurses and I have never felt like they completely capture the feeling of being in the OR,” says Kevin. 
“Sometimes, being in the OR can be a very intense experience and I wanted to be able to show this in the photo. By playing with light and contrast, I was able to showcase the more dramatic side of being a perioperative nurse.” 
He approached Catherine to be in the photo because he enjoys working with Catherine and finds her to be a great role model and colleague. 
“I was honoured that Kevin asked me to be in the photo. I wish all of our Surgery Team could be in the photo with me because they are all such important players in the OR,” Catherine says. 
ORNAC’s theme for Perioperative Nurses Week 2023 was “Perioperative Nurses: Standing for Patient Safety and Excellence in Surgical Practice” and Kevin’s photo submission went on to win the competition. The photo is being used on posters in operating rooms across the country as part of ORNAC’s Perioperative Nurses Week promotions. 

A supportive team environment at MGH 

The team in the OR primarily consists of a perioperative nurse, a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, and a resident or multiple residents. However, a variety of other disciplines such as anesthetic assistants, X-ray technicians, OR attendants and cleaning staff also play a role in making the surgical experience successful. 

Their ability to work together as a cohesive unit and support one another is felt both in and out of the OR. 

“Teams are built on mutual respect, compassion and support,” Kevin says. “Each team member pitches in wherever they can. Outside of the OR, I help put together and maintain training resources for our staff intranet.” 

“Everyone is very patient-focused and you can see their dedication to their job. We are always learning from each other. I have become a better nurse learning from my colleagues,” Catherine adds. 

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