June 7th, 2011

scrub nurses and cardiac specialists

Setting: Large but fictitious hospital with an excellent reputation for cardiac surgery, major urban center, US. (I haven't decided farther than that.)

My main character is a scrub nurse.

Questions: One minor character needs a valve replaced. Are there going to be cardiac surgeons who specialize only in valve replacement? Or only in a specific valve-- say, mitral valve replacement? Will the patient have checked out the names and reputations of specific surgeons, or only of hospitals?

Secondly, what exactly is the relationship between a scrub nurse and a surgeon? Does a surgeon have any scrub nurses that only work with him or her, or are all of the scrub nurses part of a common pool? If the latter, is it possible for a surgeon to have a favorite or favorites? And for surgeries that are scheduled in advance, when is it decided who all of the surgical support staff will be?

Finally, just how much does a scrub nurse at a prestigious cardiac hospital know? Will he or she have taken courses specifically in cardiac medicine? How close is he or she to actually being able to perform the surgery? Does he or she have support staff who reports to him or her, or is there someone else who manages the O.R. who he or she reports to?

Thanks a lot!