very important that they consult with each other and that each is aware of what the
other is doing.
(1) The surgical team is a group of people in the operating room during a
surgical procedure. This group includes the surgeon and one or more assistants
(depending on the complexity of the case), the anesthetist, the registered nurse or
specialist performing the scrub duties, and the registered nurse or specialist performing
the circulating duties. All team members work together to provide the best possible
care to the patient. Every job performed in the operating room, no matter how small,
contributes to the welfare of the patient. No job is so important that it alone accounts for
the recovery of the patient.
(2) Subcourse MD0923, Introduction to the Operating Room, describes
the duties of each member of the operating room team. As an operating room
specialist, you may be assigned duties directly related to the performance of an
operation as the scrub or as the circulator or you may be assigned to the workroom, the
instrument room, the anesthesia section, or any other area within the surgical suite.
This subcourse will focus on the duties of the operating room specialist functioning as a
scrub or as a circulator.
NOTE: The OR specialist can enhance his knowledge concerning his duties during the
performance of surgery by applying himself to study the material presented in this text.
For the acquisition of skill, the OR specialist MUST PRACTICE performing the duties
using the appropriate techniques. The OR specialist MUST HAVE A QUALIFIED
PERSON observe his practice until he has mastered the necessary skills and
b. Cleanup Following Surgery. Methods for cleaning the operating room
after surgery are also set forth. More specific guidelines should be outlined in the
standing operating procedures (SOPs) of each institution.
a. General. The term "asepsis" means the absence of any infectious agents.
All things that come into contact with a wound should be free from all microorganisms
(sterile or as free as possible) for the protection of the patient. In order for the operating
room specialist to understand the reason for doing many procedures in a certain way,
he needs to know the principles of aseptic technique. These principles serve as a
guiding factor in the performance of all tasks in a surgical suite, including the routine
cleaning or housekeeping procedures.
b. Importance. Aseptic (sterile) technique is essential in an operating room.
Sterile technique is of such great importance that it may be abandoned only during an
event such as cardiac arrest in a patient where immediate action makes the difference
between life and death. Even when cardiac arrest occurs, the decision to sacrifice
sterile technique is the surgeon's; the enlisted OR specialist should never abandon