A Surgical Conscience

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FOREIGN SOURCE A surgical conscience may simply be stated as a surgical Golden Rule: Do unto the patient as you would have others do unto you. The caregiver should consider each patient as himself or herself or a loved one. Surgical conscience involves a concept of self-inspection coupled with moral obligation. It incorporates the caregiver’s values and attitudes at a conscious level and monitors behavior and decision-making in relation to those values. In short, a surgical conscience is the inner voice for conscientious practice of asepsis and sterile technique at all times. (Ross, 2008) Honesty is a major ethical standard. It is more important to admit that a procedure or activity is unfamiliar than to proceed blindly in order to save face. The operating room nurse or any staff member must be honest about his or her own capabilities so that error can be reduced. (Ross, 2008) A "surgical conscience" is the foundation upon which the skill and techniques employed by the OR specialist are built (Osman, C. 2000). He must know the principles of sterile technique and he must apply them. Breaks in technique may allow the entrance of infectious organisms that the tissues cannot destroy. Even a so-called "mild" infection will delay a patient's recovery and a "mild" infection may quickly become a severe one. Thus, any infection is potentially a threat to the life of a patient. The OR specialist should be acutely aware that there is no substitute for sterile technique and he should, therefore, follow the principles of such technique painstakingly. The specialist, and all other team members, should never be reluctant to admit a possible break in technique, even if there is doubt about it. Any part of the sterile field, including the sterile gowns and gloves of team members, should be replaced with fresh, sterile items if any doubt arises as to their sterility. In the operating room, staffs have assignments so that those who have undergone surgical scrub and donning of

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