Admitted to the hospital, after spending the night, in the emergency room, doubled over in pain. Three hours of poking, prodding, drinking a chalky sludge and a scan, in a surgeon is introduced dressed in standard issue blue scrubs, after arriving to the pre-operative unit. "The appendix needs to be removed, as discussed in ER." As he walks away, his cell phone chimes, alerting of a Facebook update message. Distracted while walking away, he promptly collides with the hurried nurse, as they are bringing in the computer. The nurse starts to document on the rolling workstation, rapidly placing an intravenous catheter in an arm, giving a report to the operating room nurse, and then typing in a health assessment in the laptop. .
In the operating room, team members have many distractions while providing patient care. There are uncontrollable distractions and controllable ones. Uncontrollable distractions occur as a by-product of delivering care, such as the operating room door opening for staff change. Controllable and uncontrollable distractions can be minimized to provide a safe environment, while patients are under anesthesia, increasing vigilance of the operating room team.
Although electronic data devices are fairly new in the health field, distractions and inattention have plagued the operating room. Edythe Alexander's father was a prominent cardiac surgeon, as a nurse, Edythe wrote one of the first textbooks for operating room nurses, after seeing implications of distractions in the operating room. Her updated book is still required for nurses entering into the perioperative arena. In 1949, when Edythe Alexander published her Operating Room Technique, the backbone of today's perioperative knowledge. Alexander's prologue describing the importance of all team members being vigilant during operating procedures, describing in detail, even in 1949, nurses, surgeons, surgical processing technicians and orderlies pay attention to detail.