More Patients Choose to Stay Awake During Surgery


In hospitals across the country, more and more people are choosing to stay awake during surgery. Why? What does this mean? How does this trend impact how OR directors manage their staff?

Patients don't want to put blind trust in surgeons. They've heard the horror stories about mistakes, misconduct, and incompetent doctors. They want to be able to watch the procedure. They want to observe what's going on. They want to see the expressions on their surgeon's face. They don't want to be told what happened, they want to see for themselves.

Patients are also more fearful of anesthesia. They don't want to risk complications, and they don't want to wake up in the middle of surgery, in shock and in tremendous pain. Above all, they want to be involved. They want to be an active, not an inactive participant.

This trend no doubt causes additional stress for surgeons and nurses, but it's not all bad. Less anesthesia means shorter recovery times and less money spent. In some procedures, surgeons may be able to consult with patients. This could help build trust and foster closer relationships between doctors and patients.

Surgeons must face this new challenge head on. OR directors must do the same. When you manage your OR, you can't be a spectator. You know that you need to be involved in all aspects. You must keep lines of communication open. You must listen to your staff, as well as your patients to prevent conflict and promote success.

Whether you welcome or fear this trend, you can't ignore it. Patients want to stay awake. OR directors need to know how this affects their surgeons, nurses, and staff. You must manage fears, stress, and anxiety, as much as people these days.

You, the OR director, must keep your eyes open to these changes. You need to choose, like your patients, to stay awake and meet these challenges head on. If you do, you may find that patients are more satisfied and trust their doctors and you more, not less.