As an O.R. nurse, Reuben Bestman has seen it all
As an O.R. nurse, Reuben Bestman has seen it all
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The pressure is real: King's alumnus Reuben Bestman shares what life as an O.R. nurse is like

Working in health care is never easy—especially these days. Hospital resources have been squeezed to the limits and waitlists are ever growing.

When Reuben Bestman, B.Sc. ’06, arrives at his job as an O.R. nurse at Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, he is confronted with pressure. First, there is the pressure to maintain high standards of care despite limited resources. Then there is the pressure of helping decide which patients require their surgery more urgently than others.

Of course, there is the pressure that come with the surgeries themselves, and Rockyview handles a wide variety—gall bladder and appendix removals, breaks and fractures, urological procedures, and joint replacements. Each requires nurses like Bestman to ensure that the specialized equipment, unique to that procedure, will work exactly as intended.

Bestman has also been involved in numerous eye surgeries. These are tricky. There are several medications that must be prepared in advance. For operations such as retina reattachments, the vitreous humor jelly must be carefully drained, and a special machine set up to maintain eye pressure.

When it comes to harvesting organs for transplant, the pressures Bestman faces look different again. The procedures for successful organ removal are quite technical, and with these, emotional and ethical pressures become a factor. Talking about organ donation is one thing but, as Bestman puts it, “Holding someone’s heart in your hands is another experience entirely.”

The pressure is real but so too are the results they’re able to achieve for patients. Bestman cites his experience working on hip replacements with the Canadian Association of Medical Teams Abroad in Ecuador as an incredible example of the joy that comes with helping others improve their quality of life.

“We did 21 hips in nine days. These patients were so incredibly thankful. We would do rounds in the afternoon and see many of the patients who had been hobbled by pain for years already mobilizing. Being a part of making that kind of a change in people’s lives is really special.”

When it comes to health care, stress is taken on willingly by professionals like Bestman so that the pressure their patients face carry can be released.


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