Put Gloves On, Reveal Your Soul




Put Gloves On… Reveal Your SoulPut Gloves On… Reveal Your Soul, vet scrub in, gloves sterileI occasionally ask a technician to scrub in and assist me in surgery. Most love the opportunity to “get in the action” up close and personal.I occasionally ask a technician to scrub in and assist me in surgery. Most love the opportunity to “get in the action” up close and personal.cutting-edgeNovember 7, 2011By Phil Zeltzman, DVM, Dipl. ACVS

I occasionally ask a technician to scrub in and assist me in surgery. Most love the opportunity to “get in the action” up close and personal. As a reminder, I am a mobile surgeon, which means that I meet many technicians with different skill levels at multiple clinics.

Three recent experiences struck me profoundly. It says a lot about human nature.

The first technician and I were talking about her life story and her experience. In the conversation, she managed to say: “I am very confident in my skills,” which surprised me as not incredibly humble. I later asked her to scrub in, gown up and glove up, while another technician took over anesthesia for her.

To my polite question, “Would you like a quick reminder on how to put on a gown and gloves in the sterile way (i.e. the “closed” way)?” the annoyed young technician said that she had done it for years.

What an embarrassing disappointment! Two gowns and three pairs of gloves later, she was finally ready to help.

At another clinic, where I hadn’t been in a while, I asked the young technician before she started putting her gloves on: “Do you need a quick refresher?”

Her condescending answer was: “I know how to put on gloves.” What followed was an excruciatingly painful five minutes worth of struggling to put on her gloves.

At yet another clinic, I was told the technician who would help me had decades of experience. I thought to myself: “Gee, that probably means decades of bad habits.” And that’s why she had been chosen to scrub in. She had worked at a surgical practice. She must have been in her 50s. To be perfectly honest, I have to confess that I feared the worst.

She showed up in the OR, put on her gown in a perfectly sterile way—by the book. When it came to gloving, I asked her my classic question: “Do you need help to put on your gloves?”

Her answer stunned me. She said: “Sure, I’m always interested in suggestions to do things better.”

Wow. What a fantastic answer for a veteran! I guided her during the gloving procedure. She actually listened to everything I had to say, and thanked me for sharing a few tips.

She assisted me very efficiently during surgery, and said she had a great experience.

I find the attitude of our third, “mature” technician, refreshing. “I’m always interested in suggestions to do things better.” What a great way to see the world.


Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a mobile, board-certified surgeon in Allentown, Pa. His website is www.DrPhilZeltzman.com. He is the co-author of “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound: How You and Your Dog Can Lose Weight, Stay Fit, and Have Fun Together (www.WalkaHound.com).”

Put Gloves On, Reveal Your Soul11/8/2011 11:32 AM

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