I couldn't see his mouth move, but his eyes were firm but kind:
"Is this your first time?"
"I want to hold this, and pull firmly up and back. Easy, not that firm"
His guidance was even-handed, congratulating my successes and admonishing my failings:
"When I want you to hold it, I'll pass it to you"
"No, you're holding it wrong, wrap your thumb and ring finger around it, and use your other hand for support..."
Sorry, I thought of this post on the tube home and I couldn't resist. Today was my first day scrubbing in on surgery and it was brilliant. A lot of my coursemates have had negative experiences in theatre which has really impeded how much they get out of their surgical rotation. In medicine the classical educational concept is "teaching through humiliation"which is not without it's merits (I will never forget the complications of gallstones after a registrar took my umm and ahhh laden answer to pieces), but when you're in theatre, being told to GTFO because you didn't know the innervation of a particular muscle is just mean. Yes, you should bone up on stuff before your placement and doubly so if you know the operation you're likely to be scrubbing in for, but if you don't know the answer to a particularly esoteric question you shouldn't lose the rest of your potential learning.
I was felt so nervous scrubbing in but I think I really lucked out with friendly and helpful nursing staff and a my registrar being a great teacher. I was ended up in a procedure I wasn't expecting and hence couldn't answer a fair number of his questions (none of which were unreasonable), but my answers of "sorry, I don't know" didn't earn me a sound bollicking, but rather an answer and an explanation. I will not forget that the things I learnt, feeling like a plum and quietly turning red.
And I'm looking forward to the next time I get to scrub in.