Jump to content

Woozy during surgery. Is this the right profession for me?


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone, I’m not a PA, but I hope to one day go to PA school, but lately I've been very nervous about the whole idea. I’ve thought that maybe it’s not for me since I'm not good in the OR. I’m a high school student that is lucky enough to have a class that allows me to get volunteer/hands-on experience with the local hospital. A few months back I was in the OR watching a severe burn case where most of the patient’s body had third degree burns. As I was watching the surgery I felt very nauseous and felt like I was going to pass out ( i ate before going in).  This was my first and last experience in the OR. I was very shocked about how my body reacted because I have watched many surgeries in videos I've seen in class and never have felt woozy. I even felt dizzy while watching the anesthesiologist check the urinary drainage bag (I've had my fair share with them and emptied more than i can possibly remember).  The anesthesiologists even said me being PA isn’t a good idea which was unfair because it was my first time viewing a surgery.  I think a huge reason was that im an over thinker and convinced myself I was going to pass out even though I wasn't. 

If anyone has any advice on what I should do about this 

or 

Maybe had a similar experience 

I would love to know. I hope everyone has a great day. 

Edited by AbbyThomas
needed additional context
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not a PA, but I was accepted to PA school and will be starting this year! I volunteered in surg where I was fortunately able to watch many procedures, some of them being burns. If I remember correctly, the temperature in the room is much higher. What if that made you feel nauseous? You're still young and maybe you'll get used to it with more experience! I remember I hated watching my first LP when I worked in emergency. After the second one, I couldn't look away!

 

Bottom line: I don't think it's worth throwing away your dreams over one incident. Use it to grow!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firstly, there are many opportunities for PAs outside of the OR. Even if surgery isn’t your thing, you could always work in a clinic. 

I shadowed a PA in a dermatology office and had been several times, but on my 5th visit or so, I was watching her suture and became very dizzy and nauseated. I tried to fight it but had to leave the room after several minutes. Turns out my blood pressure had dropped significantly from standing for so long with my knees locked out. Make sure you are shifting your weight from side to side when you stand, and eat and drink something substantial before you go. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently graduated PA school. I’d say 40% of our class had a woozy near-fainting experience in the OR, then they were fine for the rest of the rotation. My good friend was rolled out of the OR on a roller chair after becoming dizzy and she is now working in ortho surg. It’s a totally normal and expected reaction that just happens to people. If it happens again, just focus on getting away from the sterile field. Leave the room if you need to. Those scrubbed in will just be happy you didn’t break their field or fall into an open abdomen.

That anesthesiologist is flat wrong. This has no bearing on your ability to be a PA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Likely Vasovagal Syncope. It's common. I had a few minor episodes while shadowing in the OR. For me, I wasn't used to wearing a surgical mask for >1 hour at a time. I also have bad habit of not eating breakfast (oops), so it is likely multi-factorial.

This has no bearing on your ability to be a PA. Most people get used to it as they spend more time in the OR (or around blood), and there are strategies you can use to improve the symptoms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was not a fan of being around blood and shied away from medicine as a career when I was younger. When I was assigned to the ED as a hospital volunteer, I was reluctant. Eventually I came to enjoy being there, and went on to 33 years in EMS and became a PA.

One thing I noted is that having a job to do at a scene totally changes one’s reaction. I hate gory movies and still do. On the other hand, eating a pizza after dealing with a motorcycle wreck: no problem.

Watching is way different from having a job to do. Feeling helpless to do anything makes you focus on the gore.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was just your first experience so don't rule out PA or the medical field just yet. I heard stories of people who fainted. You can't really control how your body will respond and it is a normal response. You are still in high school so definitely try to get more experience in the hospital system. If you feel passionate about medicine, you will get used to the surgical procedures. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this is totally normal, especially if that is your first time in the OR. I tend to get a bit lightheaded if I overthink things. For instance, once I was in the OR and one of the nurses said to me, "Did you eat breakfast? Make sure if you feel like you're going to pass out, you sit down so you don't hit your head!" I had been completely fine up until that point, and after she said that, I started overthinking things and starting "imagining" that I was getting lightheaded. Anyway, don't rule it out -- just because you're a PA doesn't mean you have to work in the OR! You do have to do a surgical rotation, but you can make it through that!

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Normal for first time in the OR. I had the same thing first time shadowing in the OR but went away after about 20-30 mins. I think it was from being so excited seeing it the first and it felt like a rush sort of. Also, in my first semester and first day in the cadaver lab the same thing happened. It was quite a rush seeing dead bodies for the first time. Either way, subsequently felt like just any another day after that.

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone,

I am currently a PA and have been working for over 3 years now. I had two very memorable experiences of almost hitting the floor in PA school that I'd like to share. Background: Prior to PA school I did Nuclear Medicine and had every intention of staying away from surgery or anything too bloody.

My first near fainting spell happened during my first rotation. Nothing crazy, just a family medicine rotation in a small town for one month. It was my second week during which a bad rain storm came through and one of the nurses fell while running into the office, busted her head. My preceptor offered to suture the laceration to her forehead. We went back to the room and started sewing her up in a warm office while I was wearing a particularly tight tie. Mid procedure I had to stop and just lean against the wall or I was going to be the next person to hit the ground that day. 

Second time, after a few more rotations in family medicine, internal medicine, and a particularly bloody rotation on a level 1 trauma service. I have now developed a taste for critical medicine and surgery. I was sent to a different city to do an elective in a burn center. It was my first day at another level 1 trauma center in the Burn unit and we were headed to the OR to start the first case. The medical director throws me a pair of plastic disposable pants and says " You better throw these on it's gonna be a blood bath". I having no idea what I'm getting into, but put the pants on and confidently walk back into the OR to gown up. In the middle of the surgery while it's 110 degrees, covered in sterile gowns, excising the burns from a very large full thickness injury, while holding both of the patient legs in the air with blood going everywhere, I start to get nauseous and the room starts spinning. I had to sit down as the circulator had to run and get cold water before I passed all the way out. 

 

I have now worked at this burn center for over 3 years and absolutely nothing remotely bothers me. Its all about exposure and getting use to your environment. If a few simple stitches to a face made me almost pass out while I was in PA school and now I operate on people every day, seeing a burn surgery in high school should set you up do anything you put your mind to. Don't let anyone tell you not to do something you are interested in. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More