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Why I Love My Job - Theatre Nurse - Ellie Yates

Released on - 11/05/2021

Why I Love My Job - Theatre Nurse - Ellie Yates

My name is Ellie Yates. I qualified six months ago as a Theatre Nurse and I work at Scunthorpe General Hospital. I’m also an AfPP member and a member of the AfPP Student and Early Careers Specialist Interest Group (SIG).

I never knew how much I’d love and want to work in theatres until I was on placement during my second year of nurse training. I really enjoyed the teamwork and being able to look after the patient at their most vulnerable time. It is such a privilege that they trust us and allow us to care for them.

Since qualifying, my job has gone above and beyond my expectations. As a newly qualified nurse in theatres, the amount of support I have received is amazing. I am so lucky to work in the team I work in. They have supported me so well during my first six months even though they have been working in such challenging times.

As a nurse I work on the scrub side in theatres, with the surgeons in the sterile field. Before a procedure I work with the surgical team to make sure that we have the right equipment and instruments for the procedure. It’s important that it meets the preference of the surgeons. I’m currently learning how to set up for a procedure, and about the different types of instruments and sutures and what they are used for.

During the procedure I assist the surgeon by passing the instruments, swabs and sharps. I need to anticipate the surgeon’s next steps so I can prepare what they are going to use next. I make sure that the patient’s safety is maintained by doing regular counts to ensure that I have put back everything that’s been used. I also help the scrub nurse with setting up. This includes opening up what’s going to be needed, getting what’s needed outside of the sterile field, completing counts with the nurse and completing paperwork.

I never thought I would love my role as much as I do now.

Being a theatre nurse is such a rewarding career. Helping to provide care for a patient which could improve or even save their life is an amazing thing to be a part of.

Now I'm 6 months into my role I can see how I’ve developed. I’ve learnt so much! No day is the same and this allows me to learn, develop my skills as a newly qualified nurse and see something different each day.

As a newly qualified nurse my advice to new nurses in theatres is don’t be too hard on yourself. This is something I can be guilty of. Remember, you’ll have amazing support from everyone in the team. They all want to help you learn and see you grow. Theatres can seem overwhelming when you first start and you will wonder how you can possibly learn everything but if you take one day at a time, your confidence, skills and knowledge will build. In theatre, you really do learn something new every day! 

The impact of Covid-19 on the healthcare system has been overwhelming. Throughout the pandemic, different teams and healthcare professionals have worked well together to look after the patients. I really hope that the teamwork that’s developed during the pandemic is maintained. The pandemic has also shown how flexible and adaptable theatres are. We’ve had to change practices to minimise the risk of covid spreading, and we’ve helped and supported colleagues throughout the hospital on Covid wards and in ICU.

I still have a lot to learn in my role as a scrub nurse and I face many different challenges. I need to keep reminding myself that I qualified in the middle of a pandemic and that I have the support of my team who will continue to help me develop in my role.

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