While initially Michelle Frohwerk, BSN, RN, CNOR, did not aspire to be a nurse, personal experiences gave her an inside view of the profession. She found her place in the OR and offers advice to other nurses from her decade of practice.
For nearly 10 years, I have been a nurse in the MOSC OR at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. I did not think I would be a nurse; I actually went to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in public safety management. The choice to pursue a career as a nurse resulted from some unfortunate times with my family. A few members of my family fell ill and were patients in different hospitals at the same time. I was traveling between three hospitals, and everything was always different. However, seeing the nurses care for my family members made me think that I could be a nurse. I spoke with the nurses about what it took to be a nurse and decided to pursue a degree.
In nursing school, I was always trying to follow my patients wherever they were in the hospital. I frequently experienced patients being transported to the operating room and I would follow to see as much as I could about the operating room (OR). This was a fantastic environment. Ursuline College provided me an opportunity to spend time in the operating room, and I loved it! After graduation, I began working as a nurse in the OR.
The OR is such an exciting place! Everything we do is focused on helping one patient have their procedure and a successful outcome. During some cases, I may see two or more teams of surgeons all working to help one patient. It is fascinating to see so many different people come together to help one person--the teamwork it incredible!
Looking back on what I have accomplished, I want new nurses to remember a few key points. You will need to be strong. There may be some easy days, but there will be some hard days. You do not know what any day will be, so be prepared for anything. No matter how bad today is, tomorrow will be another day. Follow your instincts--if something feels wrong, speak up. Be kind to everyone on your team. Most importantly, focus on your patient. Everything we do in our actions and words are to help a person. As long as you focus on helping the person, you will make it through even the most difficult days!