If you're working as a surgical tech or other medical assistant in an operating room or outpatient facility, tensions may run high and nerves may crack — especially if you are assisting someone who is performing surgery. Here are some tips you can employ to stay calm and steady when the stress levels might be very high.
Breathe and Focus
Learning how to meditate may be an excellent way to help you refrain from panicking. A couple of meditation classes should give you the skills you need to focus on the task ahead (especially if it's complicated). Some meditation techniques are very similar to doing Lamaze exercises (focus on your breathing and nothing else around you). Often, when you're faced with a stressful situation, it's amazing how many people simply forget to keep their breathing regular and even. Even just taking a very deep breath and exhaling slowly does wonders for your nerves.
Exercise and Yoga Work
Don't underestimate the enormous power that even a short 30 minutes on the treadmill or any other type of brisk movement (a fast walk, jogging or running) can provide in order to keep you focused later in the day. If you can go to a yoga session or exercise before you have to be in the operating room that would be ideal. If not, then you'll definitely want to hit the gym after you've assisted with performing surgery!
Obviously, while you're helping with a surgical procedure, you don't want to be so wired from caffeine that you're shaking, so it's probably best to limit your coffee intake beforehand; nor do you want to eat a heavy meal prior to being in an operating room and then find yourself yawning and struggling to stay awake. Eating something light should give you adequate energy to do your job.
Above all, assisting with any surgical procedure is stressful: Put yourself in the patient's position, and think about how much stress they are going through! If your patient is awake during a procedure, it's great to quietly assure the patient that everything is going well. If, however, you find yourself in a situation where the procedure is not going well or the patient is not doing well, above all — don't panic. Other people in the operating room may be just as nervous as you are. It's always good to show other people who may not be as calm as you are that you can handle any stress that's thrown your way day in and day out!