“Operating theater nurses, these shadow caregivers whose death is programmed”

Eric Audras via Getty Images Our profession, usually so little visible, has also benefited from unparalleled media coverage, which reminds us to what extent nurses constitute an essential link in our healthcare system. An essential and human link, everywhere in France, closer to patients. But after the crisis, who will remember the role played by nurses on a daily basis? (illustrative image)

Eric Audras via Getty Images

It is essential today that nurses who work in operating theaters are all IBODE, like in Switzerland or Canada.

NURSES – WE are the IBODEs: the State-certified Operating Room Nurses. We are around 7,000 in France, specialized nurses in the operating room. After our nursing studies of more than three years at the time, we had to practice for 2 years before being able to take the competition to join the training institute for the specialty in the operating room which was eighteen months. Since September 2022, it has been increased to 24 months (Master’s degree) and the two years required before taking the competitive examination have been repealed. We work in collaboration with the surgeons and the rest of the team.

Without us no surgery is possible

Our main mission is to ensure patient safety in the operating room. This covers very vast fields of competence such as hospital hygiene, the safety of the operating room with its numerous devices, the conformity of the patient’s file (check-list), the traceability of the acts carried out, the preparation of operations (ordering of specific equipment, sterilization procedure, rigorous asepsis), the appropriate and effective response to all incidents and of course our presence in the operating room as circulating, instrumentalist, operating aid or assistant of the surgeon.

We are the only professionals to support you throughout your surgical journey within the interventional technical platforms.

Our work requires specific knowledge of sterilization, anatomy and surgical techniques. It also requires a great dexterity which is acquired in particular during the internships of our training course.

We operate day, night, weekends, public holidays…H24, 365 days a year!

A profession recognized by no health actor

Unfortunately, our profession is not recognized, neither by our authorities, nor by our employers or close collaborators. This has resulted in the flight of many IBODEs, both in the public and private sectors. Worse, faced with the lack of IBODE, reforms aim to sell off our knowledge and our diploma, by attributing to nursing colleagues general care “operating” block nurses the authorization to perform the same acts as us with a simple training of 21 hours! Would it be imaginable that one could become a surgeon with 60 hours of training instead of 6 years of internship? Of course not ! Originally, our job in the operating theater was only learned “on the job” without existing specific training. Companionship was the only way to be able to train. The appearance of a particular training system has made it possible to strengthen knowledge, develop skills and fill in the many theoretical gaps. In the long term, it should have led to there being only IBODEs in operating theatres.

Would it be imaginable that one could become a surgeon with 60 hours of training instead of 6 years of internship? Of course not !

But almost thirty years later this is still not the case. We still do not have function exclusivity as may be the case for other specialties.

It is essential today that nurses who work in operating theaters are all IBODE, like in Switzerland or Canada.

The loss of skills, know-how and interpersonal skills will inevitably lead to incidents and concerns during the operation will increase. When we add to this the high turnover in the teams (linked to working conditions, hardship, constraints on family life and too low a salary), morbidity and mortality in operating theaters will explode.

It is the patient at the end of the chain – YOU – who will pay the consequences.

The IBODEs are exhausted, disgusted and the numbers too small in this frantic race for performance.

Why doesn’t France manage to put in place a system that has worked for a long time in other Western countries?

Why when the reasons for the leak of IBODE are known, the authorities do not act on real levers? The increase in staff necessarily involves making the job more attractive in terms of salary (Ségur de la Santé was deeply disappointed by not reaching the minimum expectations of the IBODEs, and resignations accelerated), coordination between the family life and professional life (schedules respected, overtime paid, nights and weekends really valued), and working environment (equipment in good condition, sufficient numbers of staff). A special diet is necessary!

We rightly publicize the problems of the emergency services because they are visible. Those of the operating theaters are hidden.

Today a voice is raised to warn about the planned death of the IBODE specialty.

Defending your health also means supporting the IBODE!

This forum was published with the participation of the Collectif Inter-Blocs including: Rachid Digoy, Virginie Cabuy, Stéphanie Huillet, Camille Le Roux, Grégory Chakir, Mathilde Bourguet.

see also on The HuffPost :

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“Operating theater nurses, these shadow caregivers whose death is programmed”


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