How would you feel if you literally had someone’s life in your hands?
Would you feel that it was a major responsibility and you couldn’t handle it? Would you well up with emotions as I would? Or would you just get on with your job knowing at the end of it you would have a part to play in the outcome of someone’s life.
My second woman of substance is someone that the above relates to. She can put emotions aside and do what she is required to do to help make a difference in our lives. As a Theatre Practitioner she on a daily basis see’s life and death in front of her. Everyday she see’s people who’s kidneys are failing or who have cancer. Babies who are born flat or people with haemorrhages.
Let me introduce you to Bharti Gadhia
Of course, everyone knows Bharti is my best friend and someone that understands me to the core but it wasn’t just that reason I wanted to feature her.
I think anyone who has met Bharti will know what an inspiring and positive person she is. Nothing fazes her. In recent times I have come to know more and more about what she does and thought that ‘this is fascinating and I want the world to know what you do.’
So, without giving any more away let me share with you the chat I had as part of my women of substance feature. I started off by asking her how it felt knowing that people’s lives are literally in her hands:
It feels great because I know I am making a difference. When I go home at night I know I could’ve potentially saved someone’s life. The job I do is Life and Death related and having someone’s life in our hands is a big responsibility. It is important that we are confident in what we are doing and that we believe we can save this person’s life.
A Typical Day
I work in theatres and cover the emergency department. This can range from someone with a burst abscess to major haemorrhages. I ensure the theatre is correctly equipped. I look after the patients airway, so when a machine is breathing for them, I look after that. You see at this time they are in a controlled coma. On the table to patient is actually ‘dead’ so essentially the machine is breathing for them.
Life in our hands
When you have a cancer patient and you are removing their tumours. You know at the end the procedure the person isn’t going to have cancer. Having renal failure is one of the worst things you can have. This is when your kidneys just give up on you and you are on dialysis for the rest of your life. The waiting list for a kidney transplant is extremely long so when we do the kidney transplant it is known as ‘a gift of life’ because that is what it is. As long as the body doesn’t reject the kidney we know that the patient will lead a fairly normal life and will not be on dialysis anymore.
Being the first port of call
The most satisfying part of my job is when the patients come into the theatre I am the first port of call so I make sure I am happy and cheery. Coming to a theatre and having an operation is daunting regardless of whoever you are or whatever procedure you are having. So I make their time with me, whether it is 5 minutes or 30 minutes, a positive experience. I talk to them about holidays, grandchildren or college, just diverting them into a different place to take away from the fact that they are having an operation.
The people I work with and my peers
As Theatre Practitioner I work alongside anaesthetists. Then there are the surgeons, nurses, scrubs (which I’m qualified also as) and the theatre assistant. You have to be professional with the people that you work with. Without me the anaesthetist can’t function, without the theatre assistant the scrub practitioner can’t function and so on so hence it being it all about teamwork. We are there to help the patient.
Skills, Qualifications and Strengths
I did a two year diploma in Operating Department Practice which has now been developed into a degree. Being an ODP is hard but what you get out of it is truly rewarding. You need to be strong because you do see death in front of your eyes and it’s a unavoidable part of the job. I also cover the maternity wards and when you have babies that are born flat they need a hand with breathing, you’re on edge waiting for the baby to take its first breath but that’s where the adrenaline kicks in and normally everything works out ok.
My sister is my inspiration
My sister is my biggest inspiration. She has inspired me all my life. When we were growing up she was such a strong influence because she always got what she wanted because she worked for it. I looked up to her and that is probably where I get my assertiveness from. I have learnt from my sister that if I work hard I can get exactly what I want.
Scary or sad situations
I’ve worked in theatres for about four years now and been qualified for 1 ½ but I only had my first death about 3 months ago. It was an emotional experience for me yet I had to remain strong, composed and focused. The patient had bled to death. After the death we cleaned up the patient ensuring he was in a state that that was appropriate for the family to see. I ensured I was there from beginning to the end, you can’t just abandon the situation thinking that you can’t handle it or that you are too emotional to see him in that state. It was sad but he is in a better place. After his passing we made sure he was treated with as much dignity as we would’ve given him were he alive and we knew we had done everything in our power to save him.
I’m a band 5 and there are various bands you can progress to. There are managerial roles and non clinical roles which are mainly office based but that doesn’t appeal to me as I’m a hands on and practical person. I would however love to do various courses like mentorship or repping.
Working for the NHS
I have worked for both the NHS and the private sector and to me both are the same. Both have the same workload and staff shortages etc
What would make our jobs easier is:
- More staff
- Equipment that actually works and more of it
- Refurbishment of theatres
- More up to date equipment
- Funding for resources
I would love to work in Australia. They are crying out for ODP’s and it’s a place I would love to spend a year, it would be a wonderful and once in a lifetime experience.
I would like to thank Bharti, another woman of substance, for giving me so much of her time. I rarely get to hear anything related to the medical world and it isn’t a field that I even pretend to understand, because I don’t, but speaking to her has given me a wonderful and in depth look at what occurs behind the closed doors of the operating department.
I am sure you are all with me in thanking Bharti, and her peers, for being there for us when we need them most and hope that whatever happens they do not give up on us. Things might get hard for us, we might be unhappy in our jobs, u nhappy in our daily lives but when we get down to the nitty gritty of things saving someones life can be the most rewarding thing in the world.
Just a point to add. Bharti is running the Race for Life in Leicester on the 9th July so it would be lovely if you could support her in raising money for Cancer Research, a charity which is close to my heart, especcially as I know people in my life who have been affected by it.
You can sponsor her here
Thank you Bharti.